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Men's Basketball: Previous coaches convinced Marlin will get job done

Men's Basketball: Previous coaches convinced Marlin will get job done

Joshua Parrott • jparrott@theadvertiser.com • February 27, 2011

Once Bob Marlin got a chance to be involved with the Mississippi State men's basketball team during his college days, he took advantage of every opportunity to learn from then-coach Jim Hatfield.

That same dedication is one of the reasons why Hatfield believes that Marlin will succeed as UL's head coach.

"He's the only guy I've ever seen that was taking notes constantly," said Hatfield, head coach for the Ragin' Cajuns from 1974-78 and Mississippi State from '78-81. "He sat right next to me on the bench and actually made the statement, 'I want to sit here and learn everything possible and become the best coach in the world.'"

Marlin has already helped UL take steps in moving forward this year after five consecutive non-winning seasons by the program.

He built his reputation as a hard-working, no-nonsense assistant at UL Monroe, Houston Baptist and Marshall before going 123-35 in five years as Pensacola Junior College's head coach. In 1993, he was the National Junior College Coach of the Year after leading PJC to the NJCAA Division I national championship.

Following a three-year stint as an assistant at Alabama, Marlin took over at lowly Sam Houston State in 1998. Over the next 12 years he won 225 games with the Bearkats, leading them to six 20-win seasons, two Southland Conference championships and two NCAA tournament berths. Last season they won a school-record 25 games and advanced to the NCAA tournament.

Current and former coaches nationwide have high expectations for Marlin with the Cajuns given the program's tradition, facilities, community support, conference affiliation and location.

"Bob won a national championship at Pensacola Junior College, did an unbelievable job at Sam Houston State and deserved an opportunity," said Kansas coach Bill Self, who like Marlin is a member of the Iba coaching tree. "I think it is right in his wheelhouse. I think he'll recruit great players, and I think they'll play their tails off and win in a big way moving forward."

Former Cajun coach Bobby Paschal got to know Marlin while he was a graduate assistant at ULM. When he was the University of South Florida's head coach, Paschal later recruited some of Marlin's players when he was working in Pensacola.

"When I saw who USL had hired I said to my wife that they made a good move," said Paschal, head coach at UL from 1978-86 and USF from '86-96. "He can coach, is a hard worker and has the respect of coaches because of the way he does things and treats people."

Beryl Shipley, UL's head coach in the glory days from 1957-73, believes in Marlin.

He also appreciates Marlin's willingness to reach out to past players and coaches with a reunion earlier this season to celebrate 100 years of Cajun basketball.

"He had to take what he had when he got here," Shipley said. "He is a hard worker, a good coach and will get the job done."

Athletic Network Footnote:

Click here for the photo gallery of the Jan. 21-22, 2011 Basketball Reunion
(Over 300 photos in eight links and New Stories Link has over 40 stories)

Click here for the January 18, 2003 Basketball Reunion  

Click here for the Nov. 1-2, 2001 Shipley Basketball Reunion 

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