It’s not very often that a team coming off consecutive appearances in the state championship game finds itself with a new coach in August.
Yet that’s exactly what’s happening at Archbishop Murphy High School. After a tumultuous offseason that saw a longtime coach say goodbye and a new coach arrive on the scene, the Wildcats are finally back where they want to be most: the football field.
“I love getting back here,” said senior lineman Dakota Creed.
“I’m real excited to be out here,” echoed his friend and teammate, fellow lineman Ryan Kouchakji.
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It’s been three years since Murphy’s new coach Bill Marsh, 40, last presided at Eastside Catholic. He said the opportunity to take over a program as storied as the Wildcats’ was just too good to pass up.
“The work ethic here and the passion from the community is unreal,” Marsh said. “To me it’s just an honor (to be here).”
Marsh says he hopes to “uphold the tradition of winning” at Murphy, but has his own coaching philosophy he’s trying to instill in his athletes.
“Respect the past, play in the now, plan for the future,” Marsh said.
His message seems to be resonating with the Wildcats.
“It’s very different,” said senior Steven Kane. “It’s a lot more upbeat.”
Standing right next to Kane was Ricky Gordon, another senior leader for the Wildcats. Everything Kane would say, Gordon would follow with, “I was going to say the same thing.” And vice-versa.
“It’s a better atmosphere,” Gordon said. “I’m just glad (the coaching change) is over. I just wanted to play football again.”
“Exactly what I was thinking,” Kane said.
Being on the younger side, could afford Marsh the opportunity to follow in legendary Wildcats’ coach Terry Ennis’ footsteps, seeing over a program for several years.
“I’m only 40, so I’d like to believe I’ve got another 20 to 25 years of coaching left in me,” Marsh said.
And he hopes he doesn’t have to go through the inauguration process again in his career.
“This is where I want to be the rest of my career,” Marsh said. “This is my last stop if all goes well.”