Published Wednesday, March 21, 2012 AT 9:24 AM / Updated at 9:39 AM
Dirk’s Brunch Bites, March 21
Dirk Chatelain Omaha World-Herald

We usually don’t have Brunch Bites on Wednesday, but a few items can’t wait. So here’s a small plate.

The World-Herald reported last night that Gregg Marshall turned down Nebraska’s $2 million offer. Wow. Wow. Wow.

First of all, it’s mind-blowing that Nebraska offered $2 million to a man who has never coached a minute in a major conference (as a head coach or an assistant), or been to a Sweet 16. Secondly, how does Marshall turn that down?

The fact that Nebraska made someone an offer means that Dana Altman is likely already out of the picture — either by his choice or by Nebraska’s. It also means Nebraska may be in trouble. If $2 million won’t get you Gregg Marshall, it sure as heck isn’t getting you John Groce.

I’ve always said the coaching business would be split on the Nebraska job. Some would think it’s a black hole. Some would see the upside. Apparently, Marshall saw the black hole.

But there’s no need for Tom Osborne and Marc Boehm to settle. Not yet. Keep making phone calls. Don’t panic.

It may be time to start looking at high-level assistants. Go talk to the top assistant from Michigan State or Kansas or Texas or Duke. Generally speaking, I’d rather have a young assistant at the elite level than a mid-major head coach without experience recruiting in a BCS league.

It’s not a good day for Husker hoops. But it’s also not time for Scott Sutton or Rob Jeter.


>> Tom Osborne released a statement saying NU has not offered the job to anybody. Technically, he may be right. But administrators (and headhunters) often ask coaches the question in a way that gives them a denial. For instance, “If we offered $2.1 million, would you take it?” Coach says no. AD says the offer was never made.

>> Gregg Doyel addresses North Carolina fans and their treatment of Ethan Wragge, Grant Gibbs and Gregory Echenique. He thinks it’s another example of fans being idiots. I think it’s also an example of the downside of social networking.

>> Athlon is ranking coaches in each conference. It puts Bo Pelini seventh in the Big Ten. Behind Pat Fitzgerald and Kirk Ferentz. The 2012 season is a big one, I believe, for Pelini’s national reputation.

>> Check out how Oklahoma State wasted $33 million on life insurance policies for its aging boosters. In effect, the athletic department was rooting for fans to die.

About Dirk Chatelain

Dirk Chatelain is a staff writer for The Omaha World-Herald and covers Nebraska football and general assignments. You can follow Dirk on Twitter (@dirkchatelain) or email him at


  1. W. Wright says:

    Sorry, I’d rather have a guy who has been a head coach over an assistant.

    If you’re a good coach, you can coach & recruit anywhere. You can always hire an AAU-connected assistant (i.e. K-State) if need be.

    How did some of Coach K’s great assistants do w/o head coaching experience?! Ammaker failed at Michigan and Seton Hall, pretty boy Quinn Snyder failed at Mizzou & Dawkins is doing so-so at Stanford.

    Sutton & Jeter may not be the answers but we know how they act as head coaches.

    By the way, Dirk, the associate head coach at UT (Rob Lanier) has already failed as a head coach while at Siena (58-70). But, apparently, he’s the guy you want.

    1. Guy says:

      hmm .. see Sadler, Doc. He could coach. Nice attempt though.

      1. W. Wright says:

        Doc can coach.

        He just can’t win at a school where men’s basketball ranks behind football, spring football, summer football, football recruiting, volleyball, baseball and women’s basketball.

        Reminder, Husker fans. Lehigh has won an NCAA game. Norfolk State has won an NCAA game. Ohio U. has been to two Sweet 16′s. Drake has been to a Final Four. And your team HAS NEVER WON AN NCAA GAME.

        When you’re in the same company as Northwestern in a sport, its a bad job.

        1. ty schroeder says:

          Spot on!!! People on here are always crying about how Doc could not recruit. He never had ANY help! What exactly could he ever point to and say this is how we are prepared to go forward before the new practice facility and arena.

    2. Gnome Saiyan says:

      I think your post says more about the Coach K tree than it does anything about assistants becoming head coaches.

    3. Kevin Jones says:

      Roy Williams was an assistant at North Carolina when he was hired by KU back in 1988. Yeah, KU isn’t the same as Nebraska- but that’s not the point. He was an assistant, not a hot mid-major coach.

  2. Kevin says:

    It’s not the coach, it’s the program. Marshall probably remembers putting a 30 point beating on the Huskers a year ago when they had a much better team than what they have returning for next year.

  3. Erik says:

    The Nebraska job is horrible, probably a career killer (just ask Doc), and Marshall will probably get a call from South Carolina, which is close to where he grew up. It’s completely understandable why he declined to take the job. Heck, the Wichita job is still better, because even at half the salary, he knows he’ll be around for a while.

  4. LIL RED IN VEGAS says:


    1. Bill says:

      I think you’re confused. Dirk gets paid to write his opinion. You seem to think he gets paid to write your opinion.

      1. Drew says:

        +1 . One of the best comments I have ever read on these boards!

      2. A Fan says:

        Great post. Thanks.

  5. JJM says:

    Dirk – usually we don’t agree about much. But i’ll say this – if we can’t get a top-level mid-major coach (Smart, Groce, Marshall) then it’s not time to settle for a second-tier. This thing isn’t going to get turned around with the same recipe that got us here (hiring a respectable but not high-level mid-major coach).

    When I read Lee’s article last night my gut reaction was: “TO – call Joe Dooley, call Danny Manning!” (or some high level assistant at some other program). We might have bumps and bruises with an assistant promoted to head-coach (see: Bo Pelini), but we need to get the players and I don’t think Sutton or Jeter will cut it. Why not? Because everyone who knows basketball knows that Doc was a good coach. Until this year, the players responded, they played with fire, etc. But he couldn’t get the talented enough player (and settled for too many transfers, in my opinion).

    Settling for Sutton &/or Jeter (or that tier) says that the problem can be fixed with a better coach. Getting a top-notch assistant ready to cut his teeth to show he can make it work, puts the emphasis on getting talent into the program. Until we take steps towards the latter I don’t see the ship righting itself in basketball.

  6. NUCORNDEVIL says:

    ‘Black hole’ I like that, save the money Tom, hire W. Wright to coach, no matter what, the results will be the same.
    Real Football won’t come here cause we cant recruit QB’s
    Same goes for BB.

    1. Mike Caramba says:

      Yeah, we need some quality QB’s to compete in Big Ten basketball!

      1. NUCORNDEVIL says:

        I’ll explain in a little more detail for those of you who cannot see the TRANSFORMER elephant in the room.
        NU is ‘type cast’ as a football school, and that football is ‘Option’ football.
        The very reason NU cannot lure a solid football coach with credibility, and exceptional experience, they don’t want to follow Osborne, and furthermore they don’t want to buck tradition, a la Calliham, and anger the ‘villiage.’
        This leaves us with neandethal options @ coach who will bow down to the Osborne ‘Law.’
        This leaves NU hoarding as many ‘runt’ duel threat QB’s as they can in hope’s one has a brain.
        Until NU becomes more mainstream in tbeir approach to offense, begins to recruit real QB’s and run a balanced ‘Pro Style’ Offense, NU will always be coming from behind in big games.
        As for BB, NU will always be below average.

  7. BlueJay says:

    Those Carolina fans that are attacking Wragge are as low as you can get.

    The Huskers need to wait until Ohio is done and then go after Groce. I think they have a shot at him.

    1. Observer says:

      Wragge facilitated the breaking of Marshall’s wrist…he wasn’t even going for the ball….he bodychecked him into the sideline. Wragge bites.

  8. Huskerfloyd says:

    Some of these mid-major coaches need to realize there are only so many Big Six conference jobs (with higher $$) to go around. If you do have career growth aspirations, you need to strike while the iron is hot. Just ask Chris Lowery at Southern Illinois. In 2007, coming off three straight NCAA tourneys and a Sweet 16 appearance, he was the “hot, young coach.” He elected to stay at SIU, and has not had one winning season since 2008. He went 8-23 this season and was fired.

    However, I agree with JJM that we have tried and failed at the mid-major path, so why not make a run at an assistant like Manning/Dooley at KU, Haase at UNC, or Antigua at UK. These top-level recruiters know how to bring players in and likely have the hunger to make their mark as head coaches.

    For the right visionary candidate, Nebraska could be a dream job. We have the money, facilities, and with pretty much any level of success, the fan support. The expectations are ridiculously low compared to most other major conference schools. You will not have to live up to any legends (such as every coach after TO). The lack of D1 talent in the state is an issue, but doesn’t have to be roadblock. Looking at K-State’s roster (a program with success most of would love to reach), they had essentially one contributing player from the state of Kansas.

    1. TD says:

      Excellent post, HuskerFloyd. IMO, turning down $2MM to coach Nebrasketball could almost be considered a gutless move. Like you said…low expectations, high ceiling, amazing facilities, and a fanbase that wants to win and will support a winner. We need one guy who can coach and recruit to stand up and say, “I want to be the legend. I want to be that guy.”

      1. Jamie says:

        Marshall didn’t turn down Nebraska because he’s gutless. He turned down Nebraska because he’s too good for the job and will land some place much better if he wants to.

    2. Jamie says:

      I agree with this 100 percent. This job isn’t for everyone, but there is plenty of upside here. It comes down to whether Nebraska can find the right guy to lift it a couple of rungs in the Big Ten and make this a more enticing job for the next coach. Let’s be honest, whoever takes this job likely will be gone within a few years if they have any amount of success. As for people calling the Nebraska job a career killer, I know the results haven’t been there, but Nebraska has been awfully patient with its coaching. Collier and Sadler weren’t the greatest, but they got six years to try and get it done. A lot of places wouldn’t stand for that. Here, a coach will get plenty of time to turn this thing around.

  9. Joe in L-town says:

    Who….Doc was a good coach? If that’s true, Nebrasketball wouldn’t be in this mess. Let’s stop the myth of Doc being able to do his job in a major conference. He failed every year. Part of being a good coach is getting TALENTED players and not making excuses. Go back and look at his tenure, there was an excuse at every turn.

    1. JJM says:

      That is where I cut a further distinction, though. Looking back at his tenure, basketball experts, fellow coaches, and many fans have, in an honest moment, admitted that at “between the lines coaching” Doc was quite good. But he never had the horses, as you said. So as an overall head coach, he failed.

      If you hire one of the lower mid-major coaches, sure they can coach “between the lines” but history is showing that they won’t be able to succeed as the overall head coach for the same reason Doc failed.

      1. John says:

        No. Let’s cut further into this distinction. The reality is that Doc could every now and then formulate the perfect game plan to slay a giant. He was also a very good defensive strategist. He had no vision when it came to directing an offense, and he was woeful in many late game scenarios.

        1. JJM says:

          Touche. You win on Doc. I still hold that a big time assistant is the better answer. But I’ll relent on Doc.

    2. macjones says:

      EXCUSES is all y’all Lil’ Herbie MCB bUbba’s have to hold on too, because your MCB program is a glaring SHAME in the eyes of most, but not all, major college hoopdom fandom. dUh And that be college basketball fandom from coast to coast. Eh.

  10. macjones says:

    NOW are y’all Lil’ Herbie small town/suburban Good Ol’ Boy Roy’s, finally, beginning to see the grand picture! duH

    Your Lil’ Herbie MCB is an absolute J-O-K-E and no SANE-MINDED B.C.S. or even Mid-Major coach will take a step near that small town Capital town.

    No Jaime Dixon. No Ben Howland. No Shaka Smart and now, No Field Generalissimo Marshall.

    Heck, even Native Son Dana won’t come back to the barren, boring Hinterlands. LMAO

  11. Johnny Reno says:

    OMG! Can we please quit inserting Danny Manning into the discussion. What, in the name of James Naismith, would lead anyone to believe he can turn the NU program around? Jeter? Altman? Spinelli? Do any of these guys, or anyone else that’s been mentioned, get anyone excited? Seriously. This whole thing is embarrassing. Six years from now we’re going to be having the same discussion anyway, so just pay a faculty member to monitor things and let’s just let this pathetic b-ball program put itself to sleep.

  12. hoopsfan says:

    TO says “We haven’t offered anyone.” Dirk says “According to sources…”

    I’ll take TO’s word on this one – deciding that Altman is out “based on the info we have” is jumping to conclusions.

    Let’s stick to reporting the facts, shall we?

    1. Bill says:


      Osborne: “Hey, if we offered you the NU job for $2 million, would you be interested?”
      Marshall: “Nope.”

      And that’s how you turn down a job that hasn’t been offered.

  13. macjones says:

    Hi Mike,

    Just for your future knowledge, here are the NCAA records, all-time. The Jays have a good deal more than 3 wins.

    Creighton – 10 wins, 18 losses
    Nebraska – 0 wins, 6 losses
    Iowa – 27 wins, 24 losses

    Lil’ Herbie MCB fandom is so ENVIOUS, Blue of the Blue Jays, that they have to LIE about Creighton U. and it’s N.C.A.A. Tournament record. Eh.

    FWIW, that Lil’ Herbie MCB team was MOLESTED by DOUBLE-DIGIT’s in FOUR of those N.C.A.A. Tournament defeats and even was MOLESTED by a No. 14 seed in the form of TINY Xavier, Ohio. LMAO Imagine that y’all Good Ol’ Boy Roy’s.

  14. macjones says:

    Coach Thomas Penders said it best… Because TODAY he still can’t FATHOM why the Lil’ Herbie MCB media-nexus and Lil’ Herbie millionare boosters and most certainly, Lil’ Herbie rooters had to RUN OFF that big City Slicker. Eh. Especially when Lil’ Herbie bUbba’s had a GOOD THING GOING in the small town Capital town.

    And now y’all Lil’ Herbie small town/suburban Good Ol’ Boy Roy’s must REAP WHAT Y’ALL SOWED! Howdy.

    Because there will be NO Ben Howling or No Jaime Dixon or No Field Marshall Marshall or No Shaka Smart or No Sutton-Son even Native Son Dana coming near the small town Capital town.

  15. Mel says:

    Hey, I’ll do it for 2 Mil. a year. It can’t get too much worse than it is right now.

  16. Jake says:

    If the situation were reversed and Marshall had fouled Wragge, resulting in a broken wrist, bluejay fans would be howling.

    1. macjones says:

      AU CONTRAIRE disenchanted Lil’ Herbie good ol’ boy Roy.

      Because most, but not all, Blue Jay MCB fandom are absolutely a CLASSIER sort of fan, than y’all ENVIOUS Lil’ Herbie rooters. dUh

      R.I.P. Lil’ Herbie MCB… Howdy!

      1. HuskerSouth says:

        I’m sure glad you said “most, but not all, Blue Jay MCB fandom are absolutely a CLASSIER ” because you sure are not one of the CLASSY ones!

    2. AP says:

      Nobody howled when Josh Dotzler got tripped from behind by the Salukis a few years back and messed up his knee. If fouls were not a part of the game, there would be no need to put any refs on the floor. Wragge’s foul was one you see at least several times a game.

      1. Larry says:

        At least they make a tournament. (Two, I guess).

      2. Kevin says:

        Classier than who?? Who said anything about classier?

  17. Tom in KC says:

    Once again, the issue isn’t whether they coached at a mid major or as an assistant at a high level school. CAN THEY RECRUIT top talent to come play for them? Can they COACH the kids to do things their way and stay out of trouble? Can they get top assistants to develop players and implement the system. GETTING THE KIDS to come you need facilities, exposure, a fun offense, a great coaching staff, and more exposure. NE has never had all of it going for them, particularly facilities and exposure. We now have GREAT facilities, GREAT exposure (Big Ten Network, Big Ten period!), and now we need the coaching staff to go with it. If they regularly take a mid Major to the tourney, and I dont mean with an 18-16 record but they won the Who Gives A Crap Conference Tourney, but really got in then they are doing things right. Before NE, Doc didnt and Collier didnt. So, they were bad mid Major choices.

    1. Tony says:

      I don’t think it’s the coach, but the program. But we can talk about a coach all we want.

  18. Big Beef says:

    Bo’s stock is dropping quickly. Minor bowls, blowouts in big games and a arrogant, know it all attitude doesn’t help either.

  19. jomaha says:

    The refs in the Creighton vs NC game set the tone for a rough game. There was one NC possession early when Echenique had clearly established good defensive position and NC’s Henson slammed into him twice with his shoulder trying to move him. He didn’t even have the ball yet. Obvious fouls but the refs failed to call either.

    Echenique seemed to be the only Bluejay that was playing well, not scared, nervous or trying to do too much. G. McDermott said in the pre-second half interview they needed to get the ball inside more and then the Jays didn’t get it to him until the 10 minute mark. I’m disappointed to hear Echenique get chastised by his own coach for a hard foul in retrospect.

  20. OldGold says:

    Instead of sniping at each other, NU and Creighton fans should realize that it is them versus the world. UNC “fans” spoke derisively of Mid America in references to Creighton as did Mizzou and Kansas fans when UNL was in the Big 12. Always with the digs about corn, pigs, incest and trailer parks. Although Duke and UNC are big rivals on the court, they work together in Carolina as do Vanderbilt-Tenn, Tulane-LSU, USC-UCLA in their states. Cooperate and grow together!

    1. Kevin says:

      No, thanks.

    2. kevin says:

      oldgold u know the liberals have taken over America when people from North Carolina talk smack about your state That’s about as low as it gets…now let me get to feeding the pigs some corn. It’s tough rolling out of the one bedroom trailer house and have to raise pigs but I do my best.

  21. Debrah says:

    He who pays the piper calls the tune.