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What football coaches can learn from Wichita State's Gregg Marshall

NCAA Basketball: Drake at Wichita State

Gregg Marshall is not a football coach, but he's in the same position a number of coaches find themselves every year. He's a wanted man. According to's Gary Parrish, Alabama is prepared to offer Marshall in excess of $3 million a year as soon as Wichita State's NCAA Tournament run comes to an end. (Marshall made $1.7 million in 2014 according to USA Today.)

Marshall is not a football coach and responded to Alabama's reported offer very much unlike a football coach. For one, he acknowledged it exists.

"Right now it's just rumor and conjecture. I haven't spoken with Alabama. I'm coaching my team, and that's what I'm going to do, hopefully, for another couple of weeks," Marshall told the Jim Rome show earlier this week. "And if Alabama is still interested in talking to us with some type of crazy offer at that time, then we will certainly entertain that. But it's going to take some type of crazy offer to get us to leave Wichita State."

If a football coach was asked the same question, he'd respond one of three ways:

1) "I haven't heard anything about that."
2) "I'm just focused on coaching my team."
3) "We're very happy where we are and not looking to leave."

All three are disingenuous at best, and outright lies at worst. Does that mean every football coach should respond as honestly as Marshall? No, not necessarily. His answer works for his situation. When you reach the Final Four, then produce an undefeated regular season, and then knock off Kansas to reach the Sweet 16 in successive seasons at Wichita State, other schools are going to be interested and thinking otherwise is a head-in-sand level of obliviousness.

"If you don't have an athletic department and a program and a coach like Coach Marshall people are looking at, you probably have the wrong program or you have the wrong guy," Wichita State athletics director Eric Sexton told USA Today.

But rather than supply some lighter fluid to the rumors by dancing around them, Marshall took them on straightforward and (temporarily) stopped the news cycle. He'll either take the Alabama job or he won't, simple as that. But he's not going to pretend it isn't there.

"I just tell people the truth," Marshall said. "I don't try to sugarcoat things if they don't need to be sugarcoated. That's not something I'm worried about. I'm coaching my team. None of my players are worried about it, none of my staff's worried about it, and I've said how content and happy I am at Wichita State over and over and over, and we are. It could be the last job I ever have, I could retire from there. But at the same time I don't bury my head in the sand if a tremendous offer comes along, we look at it as a family and that's been something we've dealt with for 17 years."