What is the Wichita State men’s basketball team getting in its newest assistant coach Lou Gudino?
There’s no better person to answer that question than Chris Jans, who hired Gudino last year as his associate head coach at New Mexico State and spent nine of the previous 10 seasons as an assistant at WSU under Gregg Marshall.
It was Jans who recommended Gudino to Marshall, a move he considered bittersweet. He was proud to see Gudino move up in the coaching world, but it also stung knowing he had to replace him.
“He’s a guy you can really lean on and makes you feel good he’s on your side,” Jans told the Eagle. “He’s tough enough, experienced enough, and intelligent enough to make suggestions during games and it’s nice having coaches like that around.
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“Coach Gudino really can do it all. He’s like a five-tool player in baseball. He can manage day-to-day operations in the office, stay on top of all facets of a program, and he can help move the needle in terms of winning with his game management, scouting, and recruiting.”
Jans had immediate success at New Mexico State, leading the Aggies to a 28-6 record, regular-season and tournament titles in the Western Athletic Conference, and a return trip to the NCAA Tournament.
More importantly, Jans transferred the same principles he learned under Marshall at WSU and elevated New Mexico State to one of the top defending and rebounding teams in the country. Jans said Gudino played a key role in the improvement.
“I pretty much trusted him with every big scout on our schedule,” Jans said. “He was my confidante. I leaned on him. He’s very organized mentally and very detailed in his suggestions on how to defend the opponent. He’s very well-equipped to put together a game plan.”
After WSU’s defense suffered a drastic decline last season, Marshall has made it a priority this offseason to return to the program’s roots. Gudino was an assistant coach at Indiana State from 2007-17 and he can vividly remember the “Play Angry” brand of defense WSU employed that made them so dominant.
He’s eager to help play a role in restoring that.
“They never took a possession off and their players played the right way and they played for each other,” Gudino said. “They always had this uncanny ability to out-tough everybody they played, especially in the last 10 minutes of a game. That’s where they would just annihilate people.”
Marshall’s familiarity with Gudino was crucial. The two’s relationship actually dates back nearly two decades when Marshall was at Winthrop and recruited one of Gudino’s players in the junior-college ranks.
After Jans and Indiana State coach Greg Lansing vouched for him, Gudino jumped at the opportunity to work with Marshall, whom he calls a Hall of Fame coach.
“I’ve been able to respect (Marshall) from a distance,” Gudino said. “I remember coming here into Koch Arena going against his teams, trying to prepare for them was just a nightmare. It was by far the toughest scout. There were so many things you had to prepare for and you end up spreading yourself thin and next thing you know, you’re walking out of here with an ‘L.’ “
After all of those nightmare trips to Koch Arena as a visiting coach, Gudino said it will be nice being on the right end of all of those cheers for a change.
“You always dream of being in a place where basketball is very important and it’s obvious that basketball is very important here in Wichita,” Gudino said. “I got to experience that every time we played here. It’s such a great advantage to have that sixth man. The crowd here really is unbelievable and I consider myself a pretty lucky guy.”