‘Send him back to Africa’

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As Wichita State investigates head basketball coach Gregg Marshall for allegations of physical and verbal abuse of student-athletes, former players from a previous coaching stop are reporting similar inappropriate actions.

Marshall has been at Wichita State for 13 seasons, including a trip to the Final Four in 2013, but seven players who played for him at Winthrop University from 1998-2007 “painted a picture of Marshall — menacing, belligerent, prone to sudden outbursts — similar to the one former Wichita State players have detailed,” according to The Athletic.

In the report, players alleged Marshall regularly called them derogatory terms for a woman’s vagina, threatened a black player he’d “send him back to Africa” and asked another who was on mental-health medication if he was “stupid or just retarded?”

“I was hoping he had changed his ways,” former Winthrop player Sam Bailey said. “I saw at one point where UCLA was going to hire him. He’s been in the national spotlight, so I thought he’s probably changed. But apparently he hasn’t.”

The Athletic also was provided a text chain among former Winthrop players, and quoted Josh Grant as writing: “This s–t is wild, though I am shocked it is getting any traction. Why now? It is not like he has changed anything in 25+ years of doing this s–t day in and day out.”

Marshall provided a statement Tuesday to The Athletic attempting to defend himself against the allegations.

“As I have stated previously, I am deeply committed to my players and the teams we have built together,” Marshall said. “My nine years at Winthrop…saw the Eagles achieve greater success than ever before.

“I acknowledge that my coaching style isn’t for everyone. I am passionate and energetic, and countless players have thrived on my programs and excelled in our team culture. I am not demeaning or abusive. I have always pledged my full-hearted commitment to my team. I hope that no player or coach in my program ever doubts my respect for them or my investment in their success.”

The internal investigation at Wichita State came following a season in which six scholarship players and one walk-on transferred out of the Shockers program and another top recruit uncommitted from his letter of intent.

Former player Shaq Morris told Stadium that he was shoved and punched by Marshall during a 2015 practice, and former teammate Ty Taylor confirmed he witnessed the incident. Marshall also allegedly choked assistant coach Kyle Lindsted during the 2016-17 school year.

Gregg Marshall Wichita State Winthrop abuse allegations
Gregg Marshall coaches during a Winthrop basketball practice in 2007.Sporting News via Getty Images

“This goes as far back as his coaching career,” Bailey added in The Athletic report. “From the guys I’ve talked to at Winthrop, we all feel pretty much the same. It’s time someone shed some light on this.

“Whatever they’re talking about now, he’s done more than enough of that over the last 25 years. Maybe he doesn’t pay players or fraternize with coeds. But this stuff? This stuff, he totally does that.”

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