Eugene Marshall Jr. is considered a trailblazer by many in collegiate athletics. A role model, mentor to the those he has supervised or led, and father figure to the student-athletes he has coached. Director Marshall Jr. is a loyal and trusted friend to many people in and outside the sports industry.
I met Eugene Marshall Jr. over 30 years ago, and he became not only a trusted friend but a mentor, as he has for so many.
In a space where there are just a handful of African American Directors of Athletics at the Division I FBS or FCS levels, he has overcome many challenges African Americans face in the sports industry. His unique skillset through various positions in both the business sector and collegiate athletics has made him one of the most respected and dynamic leaders in college sports. He has stood the test of time in an industry comprising 84%-88% white males, but he has proven he belongs, transforming and elevating institutions of higher education athletic programs profiles and brands.
Whether serving as one of the top brasses for the Black Coaches Association early in his career and spearheading opportunities for coaches of color or building athletic programs, he has always led with integrity, honesty, and the desire to help and develop others.
A devoted husband and father of three (2 sons and a daughter), Eugene Marshall Jr. is a pillar and icon among minority athletic administrators across this country and certainly within the community where he was raised.
I sat down with Eugene Marshall Jr. and asked him several questions about his life and career.
Eugene, where were you born and raised?
Hackensack, New Jersey
Talk about some of your influences growing up.
My dad, Eugene Marshall Sr. My mom Hortense E. Marshall, my high school Coach, Mel Henderson and Coach Rich Buckelew, my mentor Larry Beaman and friends Darryl Harris and Ken Dixon.
When did the love for sports begin
I have been watching basketball since I was six months old – Watching my dad play basketball in Second Street Park Hackensack, NJ. I participated in baseball, basketball, bowling, football, wrestling, and gymnastics as a youth. Every day, there was a sport to play.
Was there one sport more than the others you gravitated towards growing up?
Basketball was my favorite sport and football is 2nd. Knee injuries ended my football career. wasn’t as good at baseball, so I became an umpire. Track started late in High School but I enjoyed track.
You played basketball at Northeastern University for Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun; talk about that experience and his impact on your career.
I was a marginal player at best! A knee injury ended my career. Coach Calhoun took me under his wing and kept me involved in basketball. He has assisted me in both my coaching and athletic administrative careers. We ran marathons together.
What motivated you to become an Athletic Director?
Coach Calhoun. There were not enough Black Directors of Athletics and too many Assistant Basketball Coaches. Coach Calhoun would say you need to be the person doing the hiring.
Before transitioning to athletic administration, you were a successful college coach; talk about those transferable skills that helped you.
My IBM experience came in handy – Athletics is a business. My undergraduate degree is in Business Administration Management. With my experience participating in sports growing up, I was a prime candidate to be an Athletic Director.
You have seen and been a part of many decades of collegiate athletics; which decade was the most impactful and why?
They all have been! I have been blessed to help young people grow, mature, develop, and get jobs in athletics while making positive changes in the industry.
You worked at WEST POINT; what was that like working with those who protect and serve?
Awesome! Great people and outstanding leadership. Many excellent coaches and cadets. I truly enjoyed my time at West Point.
What was your most memorable moment in Collegiate Athletics?
Watching my three kids participate in College Athletics! Watching them have some shining moments in their athletic careers.
What are you doing now?
Director of Athletics at Binghamton University with the Excellent leadership of President Harvey Stenger. A Great Staff and Wonderful Student Athletes.