After completing his eighth successful season at the helm of the Sam Houston State men’s basketball program, other schools are starting to take notice of Bob Marlin.
Each year following the NCAA tournament, the parade of coaches commences as schools battle one another in an attempt sign the coveted leader of the latest big Cinderella story or lose a lame duck that is more excess baggage than promising diamond-in-the-rough.
When Marlin first came to Sam Houston State, the Bearkats had not finished higher than sixth in the league or posted a double-digit -victory season in more than a decade. Since his arrival, Marlin has lead the Bearkats to three 20-plus victory seasons, including double-digit win seasons in each of his seasons as head coach.
Under his watchful guidance, the Bearkats have earned two Southland Conference titles and a 138-93 overall record through eight seasons.
Yet so much success is hard to contain and several other schools have exhibited their interest in obtaining a piece of Marlin’s victory pie.
Though Marlin and Athletic Directory Bobby Williams were unavailable for comment, reports are circulating that the administration at South Alabama has expressed interest in Marlin after their head coaching position was vacated following the 2007 season. The Division I school competes in the Sun Belt Conference with schools such as the University of North Texas and Troy.
South Alabama entered the 2007 Sunbelt Conference tournament as the No. 1 seed, but were upset in the first round by Middle Tennessee in overtime.
Former head coach John Pelphrey then lead the Jaguars into the NIT Tournament where they ended their promising season in the first round to Syracuse 79-73.
Yet the interest shown by South Alabama isn’t the first time Marlin has attracted the attention of another school this season.
According to a March 20 article on ESPN.com, Marlin was one of four candidates interviewed for the head coaching position at Wyoming, a Division I school in the Mountain West conference. Though UW eventually settled on Fresno State assistant Heath Schroyer, the persistence shown towards obtaining Marlin proves his value both for Sam Houston State and within the realm of college basketball.
Losing Marlin would be an obvious blow to the Sam Houston State basketball program and a regrettable loss that would be difficult to replace. Yet it’s inevitable that once a team starts winning, other teams will come running.
As Sam Houston State continues to improve under Marlin, it would be in the best interest of the university, fans, players and students to work hard to ensure the coach who has become the gem of the program is given every tool available to continue bringing excitement and success to the Bearkat faithful. If Sam Houston State can’t do that much for a coach who has done so much, then there are plenty of other schools who will.