Wichita State basketball coach Gregg Marshall is considering hiring Chris Jans as his assistant coach, although he stresses that decision is a difficult one and not close at hand.
“His name has popped up,” Marshall said. “We’ve talked about it. I’ve met with him. Obviously, there’s things that he’s got to work through first.”
Jans worked for Marshall from 2007, as part of Marshall’s first staff at WSU, until after the 2013-14 season. He earned a promotion to associate head coach in 2011. Marshall pushed Jans for jobs as a head coach for several years before Bowling Green hired him. Bowling Green fired Jans on April 2 after an incident at a bar near the Ohio school’s campus.
Now Marshall must weigh his top priority as the caretaker for Wichita State basketball, its reputation and its success, with his chance to bring back a trusted, popular, veteran coach to his staff and help a friend. Jans, among his contributions as assistant coach, is credited for pushing Marshall to take a hard look at current Shocker guard Ron Baker during his high school career.
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“It’s a unique situation,” Marshall said. “I’ve got to weigh a lot of factors. There’s a lot to these decisions.”
Jans declined comment, as did his Michael Harrison, his agent.
WSU has one open spot on its staff after East Tennessee State hired Steve Forbes as its head coach in March. Marshall said he is no rush to fill the position. In past seasons, Marshall usually tries to complete his staff before July, an important month for recruiting evaluations.
Indiana State coach Greg Lansing, one of Jans’ closest friends, said Jans is back in Wichita with his family and wants to coach again soon and would love to return to Wichita State.
“He’s doing as well as can be expected,” Lansing said. “There’s no question Wichita is where he wants to be. If I had a spot, I’d hire him in a heartbeat. That’s how much he means to me.”
In March 2014, Jans represented a shining success story for Marshall, who was thrilled to see his friend land a good job as a head coach. Bowling Green went 21-12 in Jans’ lone season as coach and played in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament. The success story turned bad after an 82-59 loss to Canisius in the second round of the tournament on March 21.
According to documents released by Bowling Green, Jans was involved in an incident at a bar near the Bowling Green campus. Jans grabbed the head of one woman who was familiar to Bowling Green basketball staff and pulled it toward his body. He also patted another woman on the behind, which was captured on a cell-phone video and sent to athletic director Chris Kingston.
Jans also was accused of calling a college-age woman by a derogatory name when she confronted him about his behavior.
“On March 21st I made a mistake for which I sincerely apologize,” Jans said in a statement released through his attorney on April 10. “After our final loss of the season I went to a bar to be amongst friends, became intoxicated and proceeded to act in a manner which was inappropriate. I have tried to instill in every student I’ve coached the importance of taking responsibility for one’s actions, and that is what I am trying to do now.”
Lansing is encouraged by the way Jans responded to the incident.
“He owned up to immediately,” Lansing said. “He made a mistake. He’s going to learn from it. He’ll be a better man, a better husband, a better coach, from all of this. I know he’ll learn from it. I can tell just from the way he talks.”