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Chris Jans: I Learned A Lot From Gregg Marshall

Jans spent nine years working under Marshall at Wichita State

Reiter Than You
March 13, 2018 - 8:38 pm

Chris Jans was one of the top coaches in college basketball this season, leading New Mexico State (28-5) to the Western Athletic Conference Championship and the NCAA Tournament.

This season was Jans’ first with the Aggies, but it wasn’t an accident. After all, he learned from one of the best at Wichita State. 

Indeed, Jans served as an assistant under Gregg Marshall from 2007-14 and as a special assistant from 2015-17. Marshall is known for his aggressive practices, which Jans has implemented with his new team.

“I was a fairly aggressive guy myself,” Jans said on Reiter Than You. “I had six years of head-coaching experience at the junior college level prior to getting with Coach (Marshall), but it certainly reaffirmed most of my thoughts of how this should be done. (It) probably took it to the nth degree after being around coach and his aggressive style and trying to prepare his team. The whole philosophy is to make the practice harder than the games. If you can get that accomplished, it’s almost a relief to play the games. They’re easier. The game slows down for them. I’m grateful for the nine years that I worked for Coach Marshall.”

Jans would love for New Mexico State to become the next Wichita State: a mid-major turned national power. Whether that results in a Final Four this season remains to be seen, but Jans, 48, seems on the right path. He knows what it takes, too. After all, he was on staff for the Shockers’ run to the Final Four in 2013.

“Coach (Marshall) has got a great confidence in himself and his system, and that bleeds through the staff and into the players,” Jans said. “Certainly when you get into tournament play, you’re trying to get your guys to feel as good as they can about themselves. You’re still trying to teach and coach and get them better, but at that point in the season, you want them to feel great. Coach does a wonderful job of pushing the right buttons with certain individuals and the team collectively. It was an awesome feeling, one I’ll never forget, to be a part of that run.”

Wichita State beat Pitt, Gonzaga, La Salle and Ohio State before falling to Louisville, 72-68, in the Final Four.

“It was a great experience,” Jans said. “Once you go through that as a coach, it just reaffirms a lot of things you believe in. To play in that environment and that stage, it only helps you when you advance your career.”

Jans will lead his No. 12 Aggies (28-5) against No. 5 Clemson (23-9) on Friday at 9:57 p.m. ET. New Mexico State has won 17 of its last 19 games.