From the Bench: After Quarter of Century Coaching, Former BHS Coach Dave Marshall Steps Down

By Jeff Toquinto on May 14, 2017 from Sports Blog via

There was no ticker tape parade. There were no news conferences. To the best of my knowledge there has been no reporting on it at this time and, if there has, it’s come in the last couple of days – well past the time when it was clearly evident to anyone paying attention.
Last month, and made official on Tuesday, the tenure of one of the most successful basketball coaches in recent Harrison County history came to an end. It was on Tuesday that the position that was resigned by former Bridgeport High School girls’ basketball Coach Dave Marshall and current BHS educator was filled by Ryan Lantz.
As far as the hoopla not being there, no one was more pleased that there was no fuss than Marshall himself. Coaching he adores. Publicity, well, not so much.
And that’s the case even though you won’t find too many coaches more agreeable with dealing with the media. Initially I thought it was because Marshall’s ties with yours truly goes back to my high school days when he was a year ahead of me at Liberty High School. What I found out was that while I may have been the first to get a return phone call, everyone got a call because it was part of his job responsibility to make that phone call.
That being said, I felt that Marshall stepping away from the game was worth note. After all he spent 19 years on the sidelines coaching the Indians girls’ basketball program and there is no disputing that he is the most successful coach in Tribe history.
I don’t need victory totals to tell me that. Marshall’s teams, known for smothering defense, not only played for a Class AAA state title, but the following year when BHS dropped a classification, they won the Class AA title in 2013.
It was not done before. It’s not been done since. In fact, BHS had never been to a state tournament before Marshall got there and after a short time he made it a regular pilgrimage.
Even with all that, a year after winning that title, Marshall stepped down.
“People told me if I was going to step down that I should do it after I won that title,” said Marshall. “I remember that it came down to me wanting to make sure when I left the program was ready for transition and I felt good about where we were at.”
The itch, though, never left. He volunteered for long-time friend Billy Bennett at Robert C. Byrd on the boys’ side of the ledger. Two years ago, he returned to his alma mater to try to fix a Liberty program in desperate need of repair.
This year, however, he stepped down. The end, which may or may not be permanent, concludes a stretch of coaching that goes back a quarter of a century. Marshall began his coaching career at the now-defunct Gore Junior High School before bouncing around early and then ending up running the Indians program just a year shy of two decades.
“When you’re younger, you always hear when you get older that time flies and you don’t agree with it because you’re young. Now, you look back and realize time does fly. Maybe that’s too much of a cliché, but it sure seems like a long time when you go back to the start of the 1990s,” said Marshall. “I guess that mean I’m old.”
Marshall’s return as a head coach was a bit surprising. Primarily because he had left such a strong program at BHS and he was headed back to our alma mater, which despite good efforts and intentions has struggled in recent years. When he thought he could help the place where he once roamed the halls, he put his name in the hat and was awarded the job.
“My intent was to go there and try to rebuild and that included the facilities and discipline and get the program on the right track; get kids involved. I felt like we accomplished those points and that it was time to let someone else finish it out,” said Marshall. “I also felt like we have talent coming back so there’s a good chance to build on it.”
For those who think Marshall was trying to do anything more than that probably don’t understand his love for the place he graduated from. Marshall, originally from Adamston, was a standout football player and was so filled with school pride he was the Mountaineer Mascot. He also had – and still does – major respect for those who educated him there.
“These were the halls where Wilson Currey was principal. My teachers here, all of my teachers growing up, I had so much respect for them that it proved to be part of the equation for me to come back,” said Marshall. “I’ll never forget where I grew up because my parents live there, my values were shaped there and that’s where I made and still have lifelong friends.
“I realize that that Bridgeport High School is my home school. I realize I’m a Bridgeporter because I’m part of the community and I’m part of a group of educators trying to shape the kids in the community,” he continued. “I realized how blessed I was when I coached at Bridgeport to be able to teach there. If there was one difficulty during my time at Liberty it was not being a teacher in the school. It’s harder to build relationships that way and even though there were opportunities to go there and teach I realized my home in the classroom is Bridgeport.”
While Dave Marshall won’t be coaching Liberty next year, he will be teaching at Bridgeport next year – almost certainly every type of mathematics I avoided in high school. This year’s docket that includes college trigonometry and algebra along with algebra II classes (I took and passed algebra II, but I digress) will likely be back in some form next year.
As for coaching next year or the years ahead? The door is not totally closed, but Marshall said he’s not interested in even looking to see what may be on the other side.
“It would really have to be the right circumstance and position to do that. If I do, it will be sooner rather than later because I’m older now and I’m more accustomed to being a head coach so to assist or volunteer would just have to the perfect fit,” said Marshall. “Whatever I do, I’ll talk with (my wife) Michelle and see what the Good Lord wants for us.
“I guess the only probably is that with me being a Type A personality I tend to plan everything out and I’m asking myself what will I do next year when I don’t have a 12 or 14 hour day in front of me? I think, though it’s going to be okay,” he continued. “Right now, I’m just going to enjoy the down time.”
After 25 years and a state championship, enjoy away. If this is it, know it was a successful run. If there’s more to come, now that you’ll likely be welcomed back. Coaches who are winners can always find a home.
Editor's Note: Top photo shows Dave Marshall, right, conferring with the officials with fellow coach and Bridgeport head man Mike Robey. Second photo shows Marshall directing his Liberty boys team, while he's shown celebrating with former all-stater and player of the year Miki Glenn after the Indians' 2013 state title run. Bottom photo is of Marshall dealing with the media, in this case, MetroNews, at a state tournament. All photos by

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