Archbishop Murphy gets fresh football start under Bill Marsh
No one was more excited about the first day of practice than the Wildcats' Bill Marsh, former Eastside Catholic football coach.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Prep sports gear
EVERETT — It was just after midnight when Bill Marsh sent out the first email, with "Here we go" in the subject line.
"Anyone awake out there?" he wrote in large block letters. "16 Days to Game One!"
"Sleep is overrated!" he added, and invited everyone to jump on board the Archbishop Murphy High School football bandwagon.
The second email came at 5:44 a.m. Wednesday, titled RISE AND SHINE. The message was short, and emphatic: IT'S HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL SEASON he typed in even bigger letters, adding a smiley face.
Indeed, Wednesday marked the official first day of football practice across the state, and no one was more excited about it than Marsh, who couldn't wait to get on the field as the Wildcats' new head coach.
"Today feels great," he said before a team meeting. "It's the first time in four years I've been able to address a team as head coach and get them ready for a first game. It was hard to sleep (Tuesday)."
Marsh stepped down as head coach at Eastside Catholic after the 2008 season, ending a successful 10-year run. After a year off, he dived back in as an assistant coach at Mercer Island in 2010 and 2011. Last April, he jumped at the Archbishop Murphy opportunity in large part because of the private-school setting, calling it the perfect fit.
Marsh electrified the meeting room Wednesday with his enthusiasm.
"I'm 40 years old and I feel like I'm 21 again," he told the 40-some varsity players. "The energy is off the charts."
There was no talk of X's and O's, just reaffirmations of expectations hammered home the past 17 weeks. Not about putting together another successful season — the Wildcats reached in the Class 2A state-title game the past two years — but about putting forth best efforts and behaviors.
Marsh was hired after school administrators declined to renew Dave Ward's contract, saying a change of leadership was needed.
Marsh's team rules include no swearing and no tardiness. Wednesday, he unveiled a motto: Respect the Past! Play in the Now! Plan for the Future! He detailed the evaluation process all assistant coaches and players will go through and added, "It's not about ability, it's about attitude."
Sophomore Dennis Moton III was called on to recite the poem, "The Man in The Glass," which players had been asked to memorize months earlier.
Senior quarterback Hans VanderWel said Marsh has brought positive changes.
"Everything is different about it, and he is such an energetic coach," he said. "Everyone just wants to get out to practice and have fun."
Sandy Ringer: 206-718-1512 or firstname.lastname@example.org