Men's Basketball: Marlin adds Hardin to coaching staff
Joshua Parrott • email@example.com • April 10, 2010
Neil Hardin struggled with the decision because he had two strong options.
Stay at Sam Houston State for a 13th year as an assistant men's basketball coach. Or follow former Bearkats head coach Bob Marlin to UL.
After some serious thought, Hardin ultimately decided to reunite with Marlin by moving his family to Louisiana.
News of his decision was first reported Friday by The Daily Advertiser at theadvertiser.com.
"We had two really good options, and I kind of flip-flopped a couple of times," Hardin said. "On Tuesday night, I called Bob and told him I was going there. Then I slept on it and called him Wednesday morning with the news that I wasn't going to leave.
"Last night, I called him back and told him that we decided that going to Lafayette was the best choice for us."
The addition of Hardin would appear to complete Marlin's coaching staff for next season. Multiple sources have told The Advertiser that Sam Houston unpaid assistant Darby Rich and Louisiana Tech associate head coach Nikita Johnson would join the Cajuns.
All of those moves are pending approval from the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors, which must first receive recommendations from UL athletic director David Walker and university president E. Joseph Savoie.
Marlin has declined to comment on any personnel moves.
Hardin, a Florida native from Pensacola, has a long-standing connection with Marlin.
At Sam Houston since 1998, Hardin helped Marlin build the Bearkats into a Southland Conference power. Sam Houston won 225 games and three Southland Conference regular season titles as well as earning the program's only two trips to the NCAA Tournament with Marlin and Hardin on the sideline.
Hardin was a student and unpaid assistant under Marlin from 1992-95 at Pensacola Junior College. That included the 1992-93 season when the Pirates won the NJCAA Division I national title. Hardin attended the University of West Florida during that stretch before earning his bachelor's degree in 1995.
After that, Hardin followed Marlin to the University of Alabama, where he was a graduate assistant until getting his master's degree in 1998.
Sam Houston won a school-record 25 games this past season and the Southland regular season and league tournament championships to secure a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Set to rejoin Marlin again, Hardin is eager for the chance to turn around a Cajun program that has posted five consecutive non-winning seasons.
"I've worked for Bob for 17 years, so I obviously have a lot of respect for him and everything that he's accomplished," Hardin said. "He's a great guy to work for. I'm really excited about what we can do there."
Prior to taking the UL job, Marlin was quoted on the Sam Houston athletics web site as saying this about Hardin: "Neil has been one of the main reasons for our success (at Sam Houston). He has done a good job in all areas, but specifically in our offseason individual workouts. He has recruited good players and helped make them better."