Not long after Vince Marrow declined a job opportunity at Michigan State, Kentucky’s recruiting coordinator is prepared to go to war with the Spartans over the best football prospects in the Midwest.
The Big Dog joined Kentucky Sports Radio three days after he announced he is staying in Lexington. Michigan State reportedly offered Marrow a four-year contract worth $1.2 million annually. Aside from money, there were a few things that factored into his decision-making process. A conversation with a prominent head coach played a big role, as well as a conversation Matt Jones had with a UK fan on the radio Friday afternoon.
“I was on my way to finish a conversation with Mark (Stoops). My next meeting was going to be with him and just happened to be listening to your show and some guy, I don’t know if he lived in Lansing, but it had to be a sign,” Marrow said on KSR.
“He was up there for business I think, and he started talking about how cold it was and just dreary and all of that. I’m not saying, but it really did spike my thoughts, like wow. Is this a sign? When you really get down to this Matt, I really see how recruits feel when they choosing and they get down to like two or three schools. I mean, any little thing can trigger you back a certain way because you’re trying to find an answer. That really did play a part. I’m really being honest with you. It really startled me a little bit when I heard that.”
Marrow’s relationship with Mel Tucker made this situation exponentially more difficult. It’s one he’d been in before. He left his childhood friend Bo Pelini at Nebraska to coach for another childhood friend at UK. Now that he’s decided to stay put, Marrow is well aware of what lies ahead on the recruiting trail.
“We’re probably going to be in some serious battles because I know when we were talking, his main focus was he really wanted to get Ohio. That’s going to be some interesting battles coming up,” he said.
“Anybody that knows recruiting, when it comes to recruiting, I’m like a different person. It can be my mother or my brother over there, I’m going to battle you to the fullest… Now we really battle. I’m ready for it, looking forward to it but he is a friend and sometimes those things can get real messy.”
It is not the first time Marrow was torn between his position at UK and another coaching vacancy. Earlier this offseason he was interviewed by Youngstown State to potentially become their next head coach. After going through the process twice, the Big Dog is content at Kentucky and ready to go to war on the recruiting trail.
“You can’t control when people come in and this was a unique situation because it was a buddy of mine. It made it a little more harder, but I’m here.
“I’m not showing a recruiting pitch but these are kids that see a lot of coaches that move around and the hardest part for me was sitting in a lot of living rooms, telling moms and dads that I was going to be here. Then you just up and leave. That is very hard. I just try not to make it that I got bad character like that. I’m here. I’m here for the long run. I’m ready for our staff to get this team going this year and we’re fired up about it.”