Dr. Mike Marshall's Pitching Coach Services

June 10, 1987 St. Petersburg Times

Saint Leo's administration failed to give support to Mike Marshall
St. Petersburg Times
June 10, 1987

SAINT LEO, FL:  Mike Marshall always has had this small problem:  Too many people in baseball love to loathe him.

There is a certain arrogance in his actions, a brutal honesty in his statements.  Those traits almost beg you to wish failure upon him.

So when the former Cy Young Award winner resigned as baseball coach at Saint Leo College Friday, there probably was a sense of fulfillment for those who can't stomach the man.

But let's face it, this latest separation between Marshall and baseball is not entirely the result of his impossible image.  Sure, sure, he rubbed a few umpires the wrong way, accused some reputable programs of cheating, and got into an ugly brawl with the Tampa Spartans (and that was just this past season).

Even if Marshall achieved marginal success as a manager, he didn't exactly sway public opinion with tempestuous tirades or outlandish outbursts.

"I'm intense, I know," Marshall said.  "Some people didn't like me criticizing other institutions within the conference.  But if I see something that isn't right, I'm going to say what it is.  If you disagree, you disagree."

But if you think Marshall is unemployed simply because he doesn't play well with others, wake up and smell the athletic budget.

Saint Leo administrators promised to open their arms and wallets to Marshall when he arrived three years ago as a theretofore controversial relief pitcher with no managerial experience.

What they got in return was somebody who could lend his big name to their small-time baseball program.  Perhaps he could help to find a spot on the map for this tiny college, which, athletically speaking, was located just to the east of San Antonio and to the west of Obscurity.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the College World Series.  Marshall had expected to increase the number of his baseball scholarships at a rate of one per season, going up from three, until the program reached an equilibrium with the rest of the league, nine.  He had five full grants to work with this season and hoped for eight next year.

The only problem was that Saint Leo changed the key players in its administration and the fiscal philosophies changed with it.

"What they wanted when I came here was a first-class, nationally ranked program," Marshall said, "but some new people came in and now they've decided to go the other way."

Saint Leo officials could be accused of Robin Hood budgeting.  According to Marshall, not a single penny is earmarked for a specific athletic program, so coaches cannot be certain from one year to the next what they have to work with.

"It's the steal-from-Peter-to-pay-Paul principle," Marshall said.  "They were going to take a scholarship away from me to save other programs because, they said, I didn't use it.  The reason I hadn't used it is because nobody wanted to come to Saint Leo.  We were just now in a position to recruit the kind of players we needed.

"What they're going to get next season is exactly what they wanted to get: a program that is very cheap.  They're not going to have a chance.  They're going to get hammered."

Like Marshall or not, he may be right.

Happy Pitching Everybody

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