‘Cats hire Marsh to coach football
Shawn Marsh knew he’d be a head football coach again.
Again is now — Marsh was hired Wednesday afternoon to replace Bill Moore as the head football coach at Fruita Monument High School, two seasons after Marsh resigned as Grand Junction’s head coach.
“Once you’re in it, it’s pretty tough to leave,” Marsh said Wednesday afternoon. “I knew all along after I left I’d get back into it. I sat out that one fall and last spring went to Mesa. It was cool that one year; I watched a couple of big college games and it was nice. It was a good little break. It recharges you and rejuvenates you.”
Marsh, 41, was one of six finalists to interview for the job from a field of 27 applicants, Fruita Athletic Director Denny Squibb said in announcing the hiring.
He takes over a young team that struggled with injuries and a new offensive and defensive scheme last season in an attempt to compete in Class 5A.
Like it or not, Marsh said, the three bigger schools in School District 51 are in Class 5A, and it’s time to figure out a way to compete in the biggest classification.
“The truth of it is, we’re going to be 5A from here on out unless the district builds another high school,” he said. “There’s nothing we can do about it other than figure out how to compete. I look at Arvada West, Columbine and Pomona, their enrollment is the same as where we are and they’re able to compete.
“It’s participation all the way down with the young kids. We have to keep them in the program from their freshman to their senior years.”
Unlike some football programs along the Front Range, Marsh believes in having two- or three-sport athletes.
“I think when we were the most successful at Grand Junction High School was when we were all sharing the kids,” he said “They don’t do that on the Eastern Slope, but I still think kids are better when they’re competing all the time in other sports.
“You can’t say kids don’t get better when they wrestle after football season. That’s big in teaching them how to compete.”
Marsh was at Grand Junction for 13 years, seven as the head football coach, and quickly admitted it will be strange donning the royal blue of Fruita Monument, especially when the Wildcats play the Tigers.
“It’s going to be difficult. I’ve got a lot of friends there, kids I think the world of will be seniors next year and they played for me as freshmen,” he said.
Being able to get another head coaching job in the Grand Valley was something Marsh wasn’t sure would happen, and honestly, he said, it wasn’t something he was looking for.
“I had a great time coaching with Joe (Ramunno) and the staff at Mesa. It’s a place I always wanted to be,” he said. “When the job did come open, you start thinking, ‘Oh, man what do I do?’ I sat down and thought about it, talked to my wife and to Joe, and went through a lot of scenarios and decided to apply for it.
“I was plumb happy doing what I was doing and hoping to move forward (at Mesa). I had some great kids I was coaching at running back and definitely wasn’t looking when it came open.”
With the move to Fruita Monument, Marsh has now coached at every high school and college in the valley. He’s a 1987 graduate of Central High School, played at Mesa State and coached at Palisade and Central before moving to Grand Junction.
“I’ve always thought Fruita had great athletes, a great community,” he said. “The parents have high expectations for the kids, like I do. Parents at Grand Junction were that way, too.
“If you communicate and treat them right, they want the same thing you do, to win and be successful and have fun. After all, it is high school football.”