HUNTINGTON, W.Va.—  Mike Hamirck wants to reinvigorate the Marshall fan base after two disappointing basketball seasons left the fans disinterested and disgruntled with the state of the men’s basketball program.

“We were all at the games this year in February, March,” Hamrick said. “We saw the crowds. We saw the lack of enthusiasm, lack of crowds in that building. And that’s not how you build a program.”

The Cam Henderson Center has had its moments when it has been loud, hostile and affected the visiting team. In the last couple of years, games against Memphis and Donnie Jones’ first trip back to Huntington were examples of the Henderson Center at its best. Hamrick wants the atmosphere to equal those games night in and night out.

The quickest way to re-energize is to hit a grand slam with the next basketball coach. However, that will be easier said than done with a skeptical fan base, which has been let down with the last three hires. Ron Jirsa’s teams never panned out, Donnie Jones bolted for a rival and Tom Herrion could not elevate the program to the next level.

However, in some ways the Marshall basketball program is a more attractive job than it was four years ago when Herrion took over and that should draw interest from a talented pool of candidates.

According to sources close to the situation four years ago, Herrion was not the first choice to head up the program and build on the success that Donnie Jones had established during his short two-year tenure. However, factors including salary, precluded Hamrick from hitting a home run with the hire.

“When I got here it was just like every salary here, it wasn’t even competitive,” recalled Hamrick.

When Donnie Jones left Marshall for then-conference rival UCF he more than doubled his salary.

Herrion’s original four-year contract came with a base salary of $400,000 and that figure will likely be slightly higher for his successor. Over the last four years, Hamrick has also made investments into facilities. The Cam Henderson Center, like other facilities on campus, had little improvements made during the previous athletic administration.

“I can remember walking in the Henderson Center four-and-a-half years ago and I walked through that building for the press conference when I was announced as the athletic director and I was embarrassed,” Hamrick recalled. “My first year there, if you got up above row 25,” added the former UNLV AD, “I thought I was back in Las Vegas in the middle of the desert watching a basketball game in July, it was so hot. We’ve addressed those issues.”

“We going to find the best possible coach we can, to do the things I described, to try to do with our program,” Hamrick said. “That’s what we’re interested in.”

Marshall fans need a reason to get excited about the basketball program, to attend games and to get rowdy and loud inside the Henderson Center. Giving them a quality head coach to lead the program is a good first step.

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  • Artimus

    The move to CUSA was a bad, bad move for Marshall. Essentially eliminated all established rivalries and did not bring in any natural geographic rivals or any teams of "interest".

    One could argue WVU's move to the Big 12 has the same similarities and I couldn't argue against that. The one "saving grace" in WVU's case is that they are competing with "name" schools such as Texas, Oklahoma, etc. You don't get that with UAB, FAU, Middle Tennessee etc.

    Marshall probably should have stayed in the MAC where it had old rivals, a better geographic fit and frankly could have been more competitive.

    • Mike

      Add getting ready to start on $85-$106 million dollars of sports upgrades. Not to bad.

    • Mike

      Marshall left because of two reasons, money and better competition all around. The Who left because they didn't want left behind. The difference between Marshall and the Who, once we got our full 85 scholarships back (not full 85 from 03-12) we was able to compete. The Who will never be able to compete year in and year out with the top 5 in the B12. For most years the Who will be 4-6, 5-5, 5-6 and trying to fight for the last B12 bowl.

      • Mike

        The last B-12 Bowl will pay out more than any C-USA Bowl. The best of C-USA is no where as good as the worse B12 teams. Any way you try and spin it, it still comes out the same way. MU will never compete with WVU. You are only fooling yourself and a couple more MU fans.

        • ted

          Hmmmm. Thats an awful lot of money to be spending to not even compete in the post seasom again. Ever. Enjoy those 3-9 seasons, it will be the new norm. Marshall wpuld kick wvus butt in football right now and of course thats why wvu ran away from the contract. That will also be reflected in the AP polls just like it was this year.

      • Mike

        Total revenue by school

        WVU $80,064,869
        MU $29,203,535

      • Mike

        Left for more money and better competition!! Who are you trying to kid. How are teams from UTAS,Old Dominion,Charlotte and La. Tech better than teams in the MAC. WVU makes more money in one year than MU will make in 10-15 years. WVU is spending $85-$106 million on upgrades and MU doesn't even have a baseball field. You also play in a band box football stadium. So lets not go there about money and competition. That is a joke.You know it and I know it. Try a different reason. MU will never compete at any higher level than C-USA and that is to high a level.

      • Mister Man

        "we was able to compete." LOL!! The Who will compete for much more money. The Who will, definitely, compete with the top tier teams in the Big 12. I, also, notice your post is about football.

    • ThomasWV

      Marshall moved to C-USA for the same reason WVU moved to the big-12. The money is at least 2x better. It more than makes up for travel costs. Hamrick has said this over and over. No way you go back to the MAC, you can play all the non-conference rivalry games you can get and still get your C-USA money.

  • Professor

    For starts.....FIRE Hamrick!!!

    • Mike

      Yes fire Mike Hamrick. You must be a special kind of stupid. Of course if you are a real Prof. I can see why you would say that, most if not all college admin that instruct hate athletics.

      Dr Kopp and Mike Hamrick are the best thing to happen to Marshall in the last 25 years.

    • BleedsGreen33're stupid.