By Aaron Swaney Herald writer
Bill Marsh, who took over the Archbishop Murphy football team this past spring with high hopes of cleaning up a program that had undergone a tumultuous offseason, resigned as the Wildcats head coach this past weekend, the school announced in a press release Tuesday morning.
Marsh led the Wildcats to a 2-0 record to start the season, but Murphy lost the past two games by a combined score of 89-15, including a 40-15 drubbing at the hands of Class 1A King’s at home on regional television. Last Friday’s 49-0 loss at Lakewood marked the first time that Archbishop Murphy has lost two Cascade Conference games in the same season. It was also the first time they had been shut out since 2001.
In an email to The Herald, Marsh expressed that the decision to resign was his alone.
“I have made a decision that was 100 percent mine and I stand by my decision, as does my coaching staff, family and closest friends,” Marsh wrote in an email to The Herald Tuesday morning.
Archbishop Murphy athletic director Jerry Zander said Tuesday night that on Saturday Marsh informed AMHS president Matt Schambari that he was going to resign. On Sunday Zander and Schambari met together with Marsh, who again expressed his desire to resign. The AD and president advised Marsh to take 24 hours to think about his decision, which Marsh made official Tuesday by giving them his signed resignation.
“He told us it was for personal reasons,” Zander said. “He felt he had to do it. It was quite a shock to us.”
Wildcats defensive coordinator Mike Allison has been named interim head football coach for the remainder of the season, according to Zander, who added that Allison was one of the finalists for the job when Marsh was named head coach in April. Marsh said in the email that the staff he brought to Murphy will remain.
“My entire staff is very loyal to me and because of that, they have all agreed to stay on board because of my personal request of them to do such,” Marsh wrote.
Zander said that there will be no additions to Archbishop Murphy’s coaching staff.
Allison becomes the third head football coach at Archbishop Murphy in nine months. In January former Murphy head coach Dave Ward, who had just finished a season in which he guided the Wildcats to the 2A state championship game for the second season in a row, was put on leave. A month later Ward’s coaching contract was terminated upon the recommendation of an Athletic Advisory Committee. He is currently the head coach at Sedro-Woolley.
Along with Ward, former defensive coordinator Jeff Schmidt was also placed on leave in early January and was not hired back as part of Marsh’s staff. Schmidt now coaches at Inglemoor.
Allison, a former Oregon linebacker, was the assistant linebackers coach and assistant recruiting coordinator at Portland State University before taking the job at Archbishop Murphy. He also spent years coaching in various capacities at three high schools in Oregon, including Marist, a Catholic school in Eugene, Ore.
“Mike is a fantastic coach,” said Glacier Peak head coach Rory Rosenbach, who Allison hired as a linemen coach at Marist in 2000. “I think he’ll fit in well (at Murphy). He’s an old school guy who understands the values of the Catholic school but he’s got enough energy to bring a freshness to the game for the kids.”
Allison’s first game as Murphy’s head coach will be against South Whidbey on Oct. 5.
Here’s the press release from Archbishop Murphy:
Football coach Bill Marsh resigns; Assistant coach Mike Allison to serve as interim head coach
Archbishop Murphy High School head football coach Bill Marsh this weekend announced his resignation. Marsh also has resigned as associate athletic director at AMHS.
Assistant coach Mike Allison immediately will begin serving as interim head football coach for the Wildcats for the remainder of the season.
The announcement was unexpected, said Athletic Director Jerry Zander. Marsh said he is resigning for personal reasons and that his decision is not related to the Sept. 21 loss to Lakewood High School.
“As disappointed as I am that Bill is leaving, we still have a majority of the season’s league games ahead of us so we need to move forward with determination and enthusiasm,” Zander said. “I wish the best for Bill.”
Before joining the Archbishop Murphy coaching staff for the 2012 season, Mike Allison was the assistant linebacker’s coach and assistant recruiting coordinator at Portland State University since 2011.
Allison’s football career began in 1991 at the University of Oregon where he played linebacker and later served as graduate assistant coach from 1994-1996. He coached the Ducks in the Rose Bowl in 1994 and the Cotton Bowl in 1995. Between 1996 and 2010 Allison served in various coaching positions at three high schools in Oregon: Marist High School in Eugene, Gresham High School in Gresham, and Rex Putnam High School in Milwaukee. He was head coach at Marist when his team won the state championship in 2003.
“Mike was in the top three when we were hiring in April,” Zander said. “He’s been a great asset to our coaching team; I feel good moving forward with Mike at the helm.”
Zander said he and Allison will meet with members of the football team as well as their parents to discuss the transition and expectations for the remainder of the football season.
The Wildcats’ next football game is Oct. 5 at home against South Whidbey High School.