The second-largest crowd in Elks Sports Day history came to celebrate Vic Marsh Saturday night.
Marsh, the winningest coach in Ashland Tomcat football history, called himself a “blessed individual” who was in the right place at the right time in several life situations, from coaching to marriage.
The speakers for the banquet went from the player who Marsh idolized growing up and later coached under to a son who followed in the footsteps of his father as a high school football coach and teacher.
“It’s overdue,” Conley said of Marsh being selected as a Sports Day honoree. “He’s a great football coach. I’ve said this many times to many people, I get upset because Vic Marsh never got the due he deserved. He means a lot to this community.”
Marsh coached the Tomcats for 15 seasons – longer than any coach in the program’s history – and he brought Ashland a state championship in 1990.
However, like always, Marsh was quick to deflect credit to great players and great assistant coaches.
Most of his former assistant coaches and several former players were among the 230 who attended the Sports Day banquet at the Elks Lodge. It was the second-biggest crowd in Sports Day history behind only Bill Selbee in 1993, who attracted 250.
Marsh’s son, Scott, who played for his father talked about growing up in a home that was normal with no special demands put on him or his sister, Kim, both of whom were outstanding athletes.
Scott, who is a head coach at Perry Meridian High School in Indianapolis, said he models his coaching and his teaching after his father.
“I’m representative of all you guy, the hundreds of others who in some shape or form were touched by him on the field or in the classroom,” Scott said. “I probably know him better than anybody else because he worse so many different hats in my life.”
Scott graduated in 1993 and was a sophomore member of the 1990 state championship season. All three of Scott’s teams were highly successful under his father.
But he said it was about much more than the wins and losses.
“The state championship was great but those weren’t the memories,” Scott said. “It was growing up on the sidelines at Putnam Stadium, the culture of being a Tomcat and being from Ashland, Kentucky and how important that was to him.”
Scott also called his mother the greatest mom in the world and talked about how she was a bridge between father and son.
Vic Marsh talked of his many “blessings” and he counted Karen, his high school sweetheart and wife of 42 years, as one of the best. “She was the glue that held our family together. She never complained about games, time, preparation, nothing.”
Marsh started his coaching career at West Carter High School, leading the first team in that school’s history. The Comets were 0-11 in 1973 and Marsh resigned. But a job opening at Coles Junior High opened the door for him to coach with the Tomcats.
Conley was his first Tomcat idol and a man he said provided him with the start of his football education.
“I have been blessed,” he said. “I did nothing without great coaches and great players.”
Marsh then said torch is now in the hands of new Tomcat coach Tony Love, who took over this winter as head coach.
MARK MAYNARD can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2648.