Wichita State men's basketball coach Gregg Marshall, in a statement released to The Wichita Eagle on Tuesday, has categorically denied the two physical abuse allegations that triggered an investigation by a university-hired law firm.
Former player Shaquille Morris has claimed that Marshall struck him twice during an Oct. 22, 2015 practice and that he saw Marshall choke former assistant coach Kyle Lindsted during a practice in 2016-17 season.
In his latest statement, Marshall made his strongest stand yet.
"In response to the allegations put forward in the media, I simply state unequivocally that I have never physically struck a player or colleague," Marshall wrote. "Allegations claiming otherwise are false."
Morris' allegations were reported in a six-month investigation by Stadium. Stadium said multiple players, who wished to remain anonymous due to backlash, confirmed both incidents.
The Eagle independently contacted five former players, who also asked to remain anonymous, who said that Marshall punched Morris in the back of the head and that the coach put his hand around the throat of Lindsted.
Marshall reiterated that he is fully cooperating with the independent investigation by Tueth Keeney, a St. Louis-based law firm. But Marshall voiced his concerns about how the allegations are being handled by media.
"It is important that the investigation conclude its work without outside influence," Marshall said. "An unrelenting character assassination by a member of the media that repeatedly targets me and my family threatens to undermine the impartiality of the investigation."
A host of former WSU basketball players have defended Marshall's coaching style publicly, but notably absent from giving their support has been Shockers from the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons, when the coach allegedly engaged in physical abuse.
"It has therefore been particularly difficult for me and my family to read recent media reports that include inaccuracies about my coaching style and the basketball culture we have created at Wichita State," Marshall said. "But I am enormously grateful for the outpouring of support we have received from community leaders, alumni and former players."
The independent investigation is currently ongoing, while WSU officials have stated there is no timetable for its conclusion.
During the investigation, Marshall has been allowed to remain the head coach and operate the program like normal. WSU begins its first full practice of the upcoming season on Wednesday.
"I am devoted to my team and the entire Shocker community," Marshall said. "I value my players and believe in their potential. If there is any question of my love for my team, it's my responsibility to do a better job of demonstrating my commitment."
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