It was a happy coincidence that Wichita State men’s basketball coach Gregg Marshall won his 500th career game as head coach back in his home state of South Carolina with the Shockers’ 76-70 victory at Furman on Tuesday.
After a little digging by WSU sports information director Bryan Holmgren, Marshall’s achievement becomes even more impressive.
Holmgren’s research found that Marshall is one of only 10 coaches in college basketball history to reach 500 career victories before the end of their 21st season. Marshall, who now has a career record of 500-195, is currently in his 21st season, as the Shockers play in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament at Clemson on Sunday.
After the win over Furman in Greenville, S.C., about an hour from where Marshall was born in Greenwood, he took some time to reflect on having the achievement take place in front of so many family and friends.
“We’re gone so much and I’m in the middle of the country now and we’ve been there for 12 years,” Marshall said. “We’ve been to South Carolina for four games now. It was nice to be able to do it here. Putting a couple of zeros after that number, it’s nothing different other than you get a ball and they paint it and all of that. It’s something for the trophy case.”
Only five coaches in history have reached the milestone before their 21st season: Mark Few (Gonzaga) did it in 18 seasons, Roy Williams (Kansas, North Carolina) did it 19, and John Calipari (Massachusetts, Memphis, Kentucky), Bill Self (Oral Roberts, Tulsa, Illinois, Kansas) and Jerry Tarkanian (Long Beach State, UNLV) accomplished it in 20. Marshall is joined by Jim Boeheim (Syracuse), Bob Huggins (Walsh, Akron, Cincinnati, Kansas State, West Virginia), Tom Izzo (Michigan State) and Billy Donovan (Marshall, Florida) as coaches who did it in their 21st seasons.
In terms of total games, Marshall is the 22nd fastest to reach the milestone at 695 games, tied with Nolan Richardson (Tulsa, Arkansas) and one game faster than Marshall’s boyhood idol, former South Carolina coach Frank McGuire.
Not only did Tuesday’s win over Furman notch WSU’s 10th straight season with at least 20 wins, but it also gave Marshall his 16th 20-win season in 21 years. That total is 15th-best among active coaches.
Marshall’s 71.9 percent winning percentage is 12th-best among active Division I coaches, while he is one of just nine active coaches with 500 career victories and a winning percentage of at least 70 percent. Marshall is joined on that list by Few, Williams, Calipari, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, Self, Izzo, Boeheim and Huggins.
In Marshall’s 21 seasons, his teams have averaged nearly 24 wins per season. He’s guided his teams to 11 regular-season conference championships and nine conference tournament championships, which has paved the way for 14 NCAA tournament appearances. He’s been named Coach of the Year seven times by his conference and garnered national Coach of the Year honors in 2014 from four different outlets after guiding WSU to the first 35-0 start in NCAA history.
After leading Winthrop to Big South titles in six of his nine seasons, Marshall has guided the Shockers to an average of 25.5 wins per seasons in his 12 years. He passed Ralph Miller as the program’s all-time wins leader on Feb. 3, 2016 and took WSU to its first Final Four in 48 years in 2013.
He has had six former Shockers play in the NBA since 2013 with Fred VanVleet (Toronto Raptors) and Landry Shamet (Los Angeles Clippers) both carving out important roles on NBA playoff teams.
Marshall has also mentored seven assistants who went on to become Division I head coaches: Steve Forbes (East Tennessee State), Earl Grant (College of Charleston), Dana Ford (Missouri State), Zach Spiker (Drexel), Barclay Radebaugh (Charleston Southern) and Chris Jans (New Mexico State).