Most of us in Ashland know him only as Coach Vic Marsh.
Committed to his team.
Dedicated to the Tomcat tradition.
A winner all the way.
But there is more to Vic Marsh than being just a great high school football coach.
Meet Vic Marsh the family man.
Nobody is more proud of Marsh’s selection as the honoree for the 39th annual Elks Sports Day than his wife, Karen, and son and daughter, Scott and Kim.
“He devoted his whole life to the community,” Scott said. “The football stuff, that comes and goes and that’s fleeting. To see a man devote his entire life to a community and a place, you just don’t see it.”
What Scott and Kim also saw was a father who was devoted to them.
While it can often be a tough balancing act between coaching and parenting, Vic Marsh made it happen.
“There was never anything I can remember him not being at,” Scott said.
Kim remembers sitting under her dad’s card table as the projector rolled as he broke down film on Saturday mornings.
She also remembers a father who was her coach, too.
When the girls were without a track and field coach after a retirement, her father stepped into the job so she could continue to throw the shot put and discus.
“Dad got a book (on throwing the shot put and discus) and he coached me,” she said. “The only thing finished at the track at the time was the shot and disc (pits). I had my own personal million-dollar practice facility.”
Kim ended up earning second-team All-State honors after finishing among the state’s top four in both events.
She played basketball for the Kittens and her mom and dad faithfully followed. She was a standout in high school, good enough to earn a roster spot on Morehead State’s women’s team.
She played as a freshman but saw only about “five minutes of playing time,” Kim said.
Every Saturday though, be it at home or on the road, Vic and Karen Marsh were in the stands.
“Sometimes it would be them and the bus driver,” Kim said.
The siblings say they received uncommon support from their parents throughout their athletic careers.
Scott was a standout baseball and football player who earned a scholarship to Morehead State in football.
Every Saturday, home or away, Vic and Karen Marsh watched their son play for the Eagles.
“They were very demanding at home when it came to discipline and grades,” Scott said. “From an athletic standpoint, there was never any pressure to do this or be this. We were always allowed to grow into our own skin and our own pace. He was nothing but totally supportive.”
Father and son enjoyed a special moment in 1990 when Ashland captured the Class AAA state championship. Scott was a sophomore tight end who didn’t start but saw playing time like one.
“Looking back on it, it was the greatest experience of my life. It really was,” Scott said.
Scott understood going into his sophomore year it wasn’t going to be easy for father and son. He was determined to make sure he was never the problem when it came to effort on the field.
“I made it an emphasis of mine that I was not going to be somebody he had to worry about all the time,” Scott said. “The job itself is hard enough.”
Scott said he only remembered two times when his father ripped into him as the Tomcat coach.
“I deserved both of them,” he said. “It was a pretty amicable relationship between the two of us.”
But mostly, Scott and Kim had a normal family life growing up on Elliott Avenue.
Scott said his mother was a big reason why.
“My mom was the best on planet Earth,” he said. “She was a bridge between us. A good coach’s wife is worth her weight in gold. It’s a burden you have to be willing to take on and almost embrace it.”
Scott knows that’s all so true because he happens to be a high school football coach, too, in Indianapolis. His wife, Missy, is not only a coach’s wife but also a (volleyball) coach herself.
Kim Marsh Simons lives in Carlisle and is a business teacher at Nicholas County High School.
Scott and Kim have given their parents seven grandchildren — all younger than 10.
Vic Marsh and Karen Hall were high school sweethearts who made a life together. Karen’s father, Marvin Hall, also had a great impact on her husband.
While the bottom line is winning and losing for most coaches, Scott said his father never brought it home with him.
“His temperament never changed at home,” he said. “It was about how did you perform? Sometimes the ball bounces the other guy’s way. The Montgomery County loss in ’87, with the safety deal (when the Tomcats took a safety but then ended up losing 22-21), I remember coming home and him saying if he had it to do 100 times, he’d do it. He felt it was the right football move at the time.”
Scott remembered the 1988 semifinal loss to Covington Catholic. He recalls his father watching film and telling him, ‘Nobody has been physical with these receivers. If we can come out from the get-go and be physical with their receivers, we have a chance.’’’
David Hicks jarred a Covington Catholic receiver early in the game and it turned into a physical slugfest the Tomcats eventually lost 6-0 in overtime. It was a game where they went in as four-touchdown underdogs.
“I remember that like it was yesterday,” Scott said. “David lit that kid up. It set the tone for the whole game. It went on to be a tough loss.”
The next night, Scott remembers the family walking around the park looking at the Christmas lights.
“Everything was OK,” he said.
Both son and daughter have so many good things to say about a father who was so good to so many in Ashland during his 15 seasons as head coach of a high-profile high school program.
“I didn’t go into coaching because my dad was a coach,” Scott said. “I went into coaching because my high school football coach had that big of an impression on me. I’m a history teacher. I majored in that because my high school history teacher had that big of an impact. It had nothing to do with him being my dad. It’s the biggest compliment I can give him.
“To this day, he was the best teacher I ever had. When I step in front of the classroom, I model 99 percent from what he did. That’s the impact he had on me.”
Kim said her father’s honor this weekend is much appreciated and deserved.
“I’m thrilled he’s getting this recognition while he can still enjoy it,” she said. “I can’t think of anybody more deserving.”
MARK MAYNARD can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2648.