New SHS head coach weathering the stormWritten by Ryan Fowler | | firstname.lastname@example.org
It was hot. It was humid. It was nightmare practice conditions for the Springfield Blue Devils football team.
But relief was on its way. No more than 15 minutes into practice, dark ominous clouds rolled over the field, as thunder rattled the grandstands throughout the stadium.
“Beat those pads,” yelled the head coach.
It was as if the team was challenging the thunder to a duel. Who could rumble the loudest?
The Devils first-year head coach has endured his share of practices in the sweltering heat, had coaches bark at him like drill sergeants and stood up to any and all challengers.
Even Mother Nature.
It’s with that strong will, Springfield head coach Vince Marrow managed to defy the odds, silence the critics and find himself in the NFL after the Buffalo Bills drafted the tight end in 1992.
Though his playing time was minimal throughout his eight-year career, Marrow was a member of two of the Bills’ Super Bowl teams.
“Next to having kids, that was a great feeling to be a part of a team like that,” Marrow said.
Before retiring in 2000, Marrow bounced around the NFL with stops in Carolina, Chicago, San Francisco, Frankfurt (NFL Europe) and even a season in the now defunct XFL with the Orlando Rage.
With his playing days behind him, Marrow quickly jumped into coaching, working with some schools outside of Columbus.
After mentoring some of the best tight ends in the country at Jim Tressel’s summer football camps, he started to get a craving for more teaching. He crossed the pond again to tackle coaching in NFL Europe before jet- setting back to the states to become the tight end coach at his alma mater, UT, where he spent last season. Now, Coach Marrow begins to write a new chapter, a fresh start with the Blue Devils, coaching the sport he loves, in his home state. His high school was Cardinal Mooney in Youngstown.
“High school football is tradition, especially in Ohio,” Marrow said. “Coming back to Friday nights is going to be exciting.”
Marrow is not the only new face at Springfield. The football field received a major cosmetic restructuring during the off-season. New field turf has been installed, making the Devils’ den the envy of many local high schools.
“I’ve been recruiting Ohio the last two years,” Marrow said. “I’ve seen a lot of high school stadiums. This is by far one of the better stadiums.”
So, Springfield has their coach; they have their new field. Now, the players have to react and respond to an ever-changing program.
“When you come with my background, I get a lot of credibility,” Marrow said with a laugh. “They just suck it up. They are young guys ready to learn and listen.”
“There’s a lot of respect knowing everything he’s gone through and everywhere he’s played,” said junior defensive end Drew Weimer. “We listen to him a lot more.”
Marrow’s lengthy résumé allows him to find similarities between the professionals he has coached and the program he runs.
“The only difference is high school kids are hungrier,” Marrow said.
That hunger motivates not only the players, but this coach to improve his team for the better, on and off the field.
“You get excited because somebody put you in charge to change these young men’s lives,” he said.
After 10 years of rumbling the loudest on any given Sunday, Marrow’s football story has come full circle, back to where and when it all started:
Under Friday night’s lights.
Ryan Fowler is the weekend sports anchor at NBC24 and can be reached at email@example.com.
Tags: Springfield High School