Succeeding a coach who led seven of the school’s nine state football championship teams is a challenge Scott Marsh began preparing for in April.
Now consider he’s doing so at Roncalli, where his wife of 19 years, the former Missy Abbott, is about to enter her 10th season as the Rebels’ head volleyball coach.
Similarities, yes, but differences, too.
Scott is the native Kentuckian who in some cases still is putting names with faces at his workplace. Meanwhile, his significant other borders on being Rebels sports royalty.
Missy Marsh is a 1993 Roncalli graduate who excelled in volleyball, basketball and track and field. As a senior she placed second in the 400-meter dash at the state meet.
Both have been coaches in their respective sports for close to two decades. However, this fall marks the first time they will be head coaches at the same high school.
“I’m thrilled. We’re all thrilled. The kids are excited and we’re excited,” Missy said. “I really am glad that we’ll be in the same spot, just from the sheer fact that we get to share all of that together instead of me coming home and saying, ‘We have this’ and ‘We have that.’
“Scott is very competent in the X’s and O’s part of it. He works very hard at what he does. He’s good at his craft.”
Both followed legends in their respective sports.
After compiling a 72-51 record in four volleyball seasons at Perry Meridian, Missy took over for her former coach, the retiring Kathy Nalley-Schembra, in 2008. Nalley-Schembra led the Rebels to the program’s three state titles — a single-class championship in 1981 and Class 3A crowns in 1998 and 2006.
Scott, who was Perry Meridian’s football coach from 2009-15, takes over for Scifres — who is 24th all-time among Indiana high school football coaches in victories with a record of 248-88 — after one season as the Rebels’ defensive coordinator.
Prior to his head coaching tenure at Perry Meridian, Scott Marsh had been head coach one season at T.C. Howe in Indianapolis and an assistant at Warren Central, Perry Meridian, Boyd County (Kentucky) and Lake Gibson (Florida) high schools.
“This is very cliché, but no one could ever put more pressure on you than what you put on yourself,” Scott said. “If I try to go out and be Bruce Scifres, I would fail. If she tried to go out and be Kathy, she would fail at that.
“You have to be cognizant of all the tradition, but at the same time you have to be willing to be yourself.”
In Missy’s case, it’s a matter of bringing the same intensity she brought to her various athletic competitions as a teenager and later as a three-time all-conference volleyball player at Morehead State University — where she was inducted into Athletic Hall of Fame in 2010 and still ranks fourth in career kills with 1,641.
Scott knows he’s no competition for his wife in terms of athletics prowess, but he does possess his own set of coaching skills.
“Scott is very thorough. More proactive versus reactive,” Missy said. “He’s going to know what to do because he’s studied it all week. Another word when I think of him and I think of his coaching style is charismatic.
“If somebody makes a great play, he’s going to be the first one to hug that kid and pat him on the helmet.”
Roncalli’s culture of athletics success is well-known throughout the state. During the 2016-17 school year, the Rebels ran the table in football with a 15-0 record, produced a state wrestling champion in freshman Alec Viduya and celebrated Johnson County resident Paige Saylor capturing the girls state long jump title.
Scott Marsh knows the pressure cooker he’s walking into, but he’s embracing it all the same.
“One of the coolest things about this school and this community is just the overall acceptance. Everyone from day one welcomed me with open arms,” he said. “It’s a great place in terms of how proud people are of everything that’s happened here academically, athletically. It’s really been fun.”
Missy Marsh;42;Indianapolis;Roncalli;Morehead State;Elementary education
Scott Marsh;41;Ashland,Kentucky;Ashland Paul Blazer;Morehead State;Social studies
Children: Sons Luke, 13, and Kellen, 6; daughters Kennedy, 12, and Callaway, 10