Vince Marrow: “I know what we have here, and I know I didn’t want to leave it.”

Vince Marrow explained Saturday why he didn’t leave UK. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Very few times in my 45 years covering Kentucky athletics has there been a football press opportunity during a UK basketball game.

Yet that’s what happened Saturday with recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow one day after he announced he had turned down a lucrative offer from Michigan State to accept a reported long-term offer that includes a substantial raise at Kentucky.

Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops returned to Lexington a day earlier than he planned to talk with Marrow — who has been with Stoops since day one at UK.

Marrow admitted Saturday the two had a lot of conversations in recent days.

“That’s probably something, they ought to do a ‘30 for 30’ on this, when coaches are about to leave and you go through the conversations because they ain’t always pretty. They’re tough,” Marrow said. “But, I will say this. I am very close with him.

“I actually think you take friendship for granted both ways, and there is no doubt in my mind that he is a real good friend. He shared with me why he did not want to move me and it would have been hard to leave him, too. I mean, we are pretty close. It’s not like that a lot in this business, but where we’re from is a very small town (Youngstown, Ohio).”

Marrow joked that Stoops’ uncle sent him a message that was hard to ignore.

“It was kind of like a mafia guy sending you a text like saying, ‘Hey, you better keep your butt there.’ But, it was all jokes. But, I really appreciate it, his brother sent me a real touching text, too,” Marrow said.  “So, I love Mark, but we’re still in a business.”

Marrow turned down an offer from Youngstown State to be its head coach a few weeks ago but Michigan State and new coach Mel Tucker, another Marrow friend, offered him a substantial raise and some reports indicate that even UK’s counter offer was not for as much money even though it was a significant pay raise.

“Did our friendship play a big part of this? Yes, it did, because anywhere else, for what Michigan State offered, I think a lot of other coaches would’ve took it,” Marrow said about his decision to stay at UK with Stoops.

“But, with my relationship with him, and like I said, this is not a sales pitch, my relationship with the community and the administration really played a big part in this. I said, I don’t really know what they have up there, but I know what we have here, and I know I didn’t want to leave it.”

 

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