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Vince Marrow: “Deep down in my heart I knew I wasn’t leaving [Kentucky]”

From Wednesday morning through Friday evening, the Kentucky fanbase patiently impatiently awaited UK associate head coach and recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow’s decision on his future.

On one hand, Marrow was being heavily recruited by newly-hired Michigan State head coach and longtime friend Mel Tucker to become one of his top assistants in East Lansing, potentially earning a massive pay-raise in the process.

On the other, Mark Stoops – also a longtime friend of Marrow – and the Kentucky coaching staff was begging Marrow to return and see the fruits of their labor blossom in the form of a potential trip to Atlanta for the SEC Championship, with a hefty raise also on the docket should he opt to stick around in Lexington.

For Marrow, it wasn’t an easy decision knowing he would be turning down one of his friends in favor of another, a decision that would ultimately lead him to going heads-up with the other program on the recruiting trail starting immediately.

But at the end of the day, loyalty to the program that took a chance on him eight years ago when Stoops was hired at Kentucky won out in the end.

As much as he would have loved to help Tucker get his time at Michigan State off on the right foot, Marrow knew “deep down in [his] heart” that he couldn’t leave Lexington.

“These last three days were very rough, but deep down in my heart, I knew I wasn’t leaving this place,” Marrow said in an appearance at KSBar and Grille on Saturday afternoon.

Just a few hours later at an official media opportunity during halftime of Kentucky’s matchup against Ole Miss, Marrow followed up on the difficulty of his decision, but stressed that he’s confident he made the right one.

“The last three days have been very hard, but at the end of the day, I’m very glad that I am staying here,” the Kentucky assistant said. “I just want to say thank you for always supporting us. It was hard. I never thought an assistant coach would get this much attention, but I’m glad it’s over now.”

One of the key reasons for his final decision that kept him in Lexington? The promises he made to the recruits Kentucky signed in the 2020 class, along with the players they already have on campus. They promised stability and a winning culture, and Marrow felt he had to see that through.

“Yeah, it was hard. When you sit in a lot of living rooms with parents… it really weighed heavy on me,” Marrow said. “A lot of the guys I recruited, a lot of guys were texting me saying, ‘You know, you said it was a family atmosphere.’ And, that did play a big part.”

A big-name college football coach also reached out to him to tell him that he is watching the Kentucky program from afar and sees what Stoops, Marrow, and the entire coaching staff is building in Lexington.

That support helped him realize that Kentucky was, and continues to be, the place for him.

“I talked to one of the top coaches in college football last night and he said he watched all of this and said, ‘You guys have really got that thing going,'” Marrow said. “And, for Kentucky to make the investment to keep me here, he said, ‘You guys are really going in the right direction, it says a lot about your administration.’ So, like I said, I want to thank them all for being supportive and stepping up to keep me here.”

All of the messages and support from the Big Blue Nation on social media and in person? That was a key factor, as well.

Even though he wasn’t a huge fan of fans reaching out to his daughter on Twitter asking for updates, he appreciated the premise of it all: Kentucky fans desperately wanted him to return to UK and appreciate what he brings to the football program.

“This community played a big part,” Marrow said. “Normally, people don’t pay much attention to this kind of stuff, but it really was the people of this community, too. It was the support. I’ve got to say, you know, texting and direct messaging my daughter while she is in school, you know, I thought that was a little crazy, but I just told her, this is what the fan base is. I really think this football fan base is really strong, I really believe that.”

As for the other side of the equation, the Kentucky associate head coach said it was extremely difficult to turn down a friend as close as Tucker, especially when you consider just how hard he, along with the rest of the Michigan State program, made him a priority.

And while he came away with a raise, one he’s extremely grateful for, he wouldn’t wish the back-and-forth he experienced on “anyone.”

“It was very, very hard. We are very close. It was very hard,” Marrow said of turning down Tucker. “But, I’m also close to the red-head guy, too (Mark Stoops). We grew up together and it was just hard. I can’t put it no other way, it was very hard. He really wanted me, and they really made an effort, so it was hard. Like I said, the last three days, yes I got a raise, but I wouldn’t wish that situation on anyone, especially when it is two friends.”

He compared the situation to a top recruit making a decision between two final schools and the back-and-forth that can happen day by day. One day you’re favoring one school, and then a specific factor will sway you another direction.

“Now I know how recruits feel when they’re down to two schools and one day it’s this school and the next day it’s this school. Anything can trigger,” Marrow said. “But, I just have to say, the eight years I’ve spent here, they’ve really invested in me and it really meant something. That really played a big part. And, our administration. I’m not just throwing that out. This is a really great administration to work for.”

As difficult as it was to turn down Tucker, it’s all about business now. When he sees him on the recruiting trail, he’s going to make sure he knows he’s going to win the state of Ohio.

“Once I decided to stay here, my message, I don’t care who I’m recruiting against, it could be my brother, the message is that we are going to keep our foot in Ohio. We are going to win there,” Marrow said. “I think it’s probably a little bit more intense now because of the way this things played out, but to me, it’s going to be a thing where we have to really, really recruit Ohio hard. A lot of people have seen the success we have had, and a lot of other schools … I was at a high school clinic last week, and a lot of people, more SEC schools were there because they’re saying, ‘Man, Kentucky has really gotten some players there, we want to get them, too.’ So, we have got to keep our footprint there.”

Now that he is officially here to stay, Marrow is ready to take the next step forward with this program and lead the Wildcats to the SEC Championship Game, potentially as early as next year.

“The days of other teams plucking our players and our coaches is over,” Marrow said at KSBar. “We’re going to focus on the next thing we’re going to do, and that’s getting to Atlanta. We’ll try to do it this year.”

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

11 Comments for Vince Marrow: “Deep down in my heart I knew I wasn’t leaving [Kentucky]”

  1. Wild Turkey 101
    9:09 pm February 15, 2020 Permalink

    Michigan State is not a glamour, blue blood football program.

    • ClutchCargo
      9:44 pm February 15, 2020 Permalink

      Nowhere in the article does it say that, unless I overlooked it.

    • JASUN74
      9:48 pm February 15, 2020 Permalink

      I must’ve missed it as well Clutch! Lol

  2. JASUN74
    9:47 pm February 15, 2020 Permalink

    I love Vince and am soo glad he chose to stay, but Come on now! He was absolutely considering leaving! Who could really blame a man when someone offers to almost double your salary! I’m just glad we put up and did whatever they did to keep him!

    We 100% had to keep Vince here if we were going to show the world that we were serious about Football I hope the rest of the staff also gets whatever they need to feel appreciated, keeping this group together is something that’s going to be very important moving forward and having continuity is very important for recruiting.

    I honestly believed, even when we won two games with Joker, that if we would just invest in a good coach and put the money into the program that the other Top programs do, Kentucky had the chance to become a great Football program! They have done exactly that and it’s paying off! I 100% believe Kentucky is just now starting to take off and there’s no reason we can’t do great things here!

    Yes I’m a Kentucky fan, but if you honestly look at this program inside and out, how hard they’re working and how great of a developmental program we have, it’s hard not to see us climbing the rankings the next few years, starting this year!! If not for a couple awful injuries this past year, I truly believe we would’ve won 10 or 11 in the regular season! None of that really matters in the grand scheme now, but I think this year could be the best Kentucky Football team in history and the most overall talent!! The crazy thing is though, it’s going to be better every year for the foreseeable future!!

    To say I’m excited about this Kentucky Football program is an understatement, I really believe everything I’ve said to be true and believe we’re becoming a National Powerhouse right in front of our eyes! Whatever happens over the next few years happens, but I guarantee you I’ll be one of the happiest Men in the country if it happens like I think it’s going to! Haha. Thanks and Go Cats!

    • Rob
      1:19 am February 16, 2020 Permalink

      Couldn’t have said it better myself Jasun. I called into the Paul Finebaum show last week to talk about UKs recruiting class and 2020 schedule. We went over the whole schedule and I told him don’t be surprised if Kentucky wins the SEC East this year or next. He politely disagreed. Although, I’m pretty sure it’s because I told him we’d beat Tennessee in Knoxville.

  3. Righteous1
    10:13 pm February 15, 2020 Permalink

    I absolutely agree with you on your points Jasun74!

    • CrystalBall
      10:50 pm February 15, 2020 Permalink

      I agree, also. And appreciate you saying so, R1.

    • StillBP
      6:53 am February 16, 2020 Permalink

      Lol not a real shock considering wrongous only hates cal for not going to a FF but is ok w any bowl game the football team can make it to.

    • 4everUKBlue
      11:54 am February 16, 2020 Permalink

      Yeah I guess going to the final four only counts in basketball, but that’s so sweet of you to say that Wrongous.

  4. JASUN74
    4:52 am February 16, 2020 Permalink

    Thanks everyone, I really do have a lot of faith and maybe more hope than ever about our future! I just want to be competitive and be able to be proud more than anything, but it won’t stop me from also wanting to win every damn game we play while I’m at it. You know what’s real, is we’re getting to that point, I just hope we all live long enough and are healthy enough to enjoy it!!

    You guys have a great morning and hopefully today will bring us all some more great news about the Cats!!

  5. HackRichards
    6:27 am February 16, 2020 Permalink

    I love Big Dog. I am thrilled he is staying. BUT instead of taking the money and runned…he simple took the money and stayed.