Wichita State is investigating men's basketball coach Gregg Marshall for allegations of verbal and physical abuse from current and former players.
The university released a statement on Friday acknowledging the claims and stating it has hired law firm Tueth Keeney to conduct an internal investigation.
"The investigation is being completed in an expeditious and deliberate manner. We have received full cooperation from university staff, coaches, and current student-athletes, and Coach Gregg Marshall and support any individual who chooses to participate in order to conduct a fair, impartial and thorough investigation," Wichita State said in the statement.
Later, Marshall released a statement through his agent to address the allegations.
"My coaching style isn't for everyone. Many players thrive in the system we have created and are energized by our team culture. For those players, I am a motivator, a pusher, someone who can tap into their greatest potential. For others, I can be demanding, harsh or strict. I don't argue with those descriptions," Marshall said in the statement.
"What I am not is demeaning or abusive. I have respect for all of my players. I believe unequivocally in their value as athletes, as students, and as people. Any portrayal of me to the contrary is wrong."
CJ Moore and Dana O'Neil of The Athletic first reported the allegations against Marshall on Thursday night.
Marshall told The Athletic in a text message, "I'm aware the university conducted interviews and I fully participated in the process. I look forward to having it wrapped up as I continue to focus my energy on our team."
Last spring, six scholarship players and one walk-on transferred out of the program, while 2020 commit Ja'Dun Michael—a 3-star forward from North Carolina—asked to be released from his letter of intent.
Notable allegations stem from the 2015-16 season. In one instance, Marshall is accused of cursing out and punching a player—Shaq Morris—after Morris made what Marshall viewed as a dirty play against a teammate in practice. An assistant coach reportedly intervened. In the preseason of that year, Marshall is also accused of putting his hand around the neck of an assistant after disapproving of a workout session the assistant was leading.
In the spring of 2016, Marshall reportedly became irate when an athlete from a different sport parked in his parking spot. As the athlete began to drive away, Marshall followed him in his car and blocked the athlete's car at a parking lot intersection. An eyewitness recalled Marshall as yelling, "Do you know who the f--- I am?"
When the athlete replied, "I don’t give a f--- who you are," Marshall reportedly approached the car and attempted to punch him through the window.
Stadium conducted a six-month investigation into the allegations against Marshall and spoke to 26 players and 10 assistant coaches.
Morris and six of his teammates spoke to Stadium's Jeff Goodman about the 2015 incident. During practice on Oct. 22, 2015, Morris went up to block a shot by teammate Zach Brown, who fell awkwardly on his back. An unidentified teammate said Morris's actions weren't "malicious" but Marshall blew up.
"I went over to help [Brown] up, and as I was helping him up to make sure he was okay, bam–I'm struck on the left side of my face with a punch," Morris told Stadium.
"I turned back with my fists ready to punch or swing. I don't know who did what and I see Marshall standing there. I turned around and started walking out."
Stadium also reported allegations of verbal abuse against Marshall. During a practice in the 2018-19 season, Marshall reportedly told forward Isaiah Poor Bear-Chandler, who is of Native American descent, "to get back on his horse" and made "Indian howling noises."
Sources told Stadium that Marshall demanded forward Morris Udeze to call himself "stupid" after Marshall said Udeze ran a play incorrectly at a 2018 practice. When Udeze wouldn't say it, Marshall made the team run. Udeze put his name in the transfer portal in March 2020 but later decided to stay at Wichita State.
Marshall has been Wichita State's head coach for 13 seasons, leading the Shockers to seven NCAA tournaments with two Sweet Sixteen appearances and one trip to the Final Four. Last season, the team went 23-8 and finished in fourth place in the American Athletic Conference.