Richie Marsh, Toombs County
1. What is the real difference-maker in winning and losing in Georgia high school football? “No. 1 is players. You’ve got to have talented kids that are willing to be coached and capable of doing the things you’re asking them. No. 2 is having a support staff that starts with your assistant coaches. I used to think that as long as you were grinding, you could do it on your own. That’s not the case. Next is community and administrative support that care about building a tradition! These three things create expectations. Expectations drive success!”
2. Which player that you’ve coached is memorable mostly for his character or inspiration? “There are several that are first on my mind. Grover Benton at Frostproof, Fla., is one. There were two at Bartow, Fla. – Buddy Martin and Danny Williams. Hank Summitt, Colby Marsh and Ken Dixon at Thomasville. And then a kid that was our quarterback this year, Dalton McBride. They all had high expectations of themselves. Several loved Jesus and were the backbone of what we were trying to do as a program. They humbled you daily. They embraced the grind. They were the first ones in line. When there was a problem, they took care of it instead of the coaches having to. Those guys are people you build programs around.”
3. What is the best atmosphere for a high school game that you’ve experienced away from home? “Valdosta and Lowndes when I was an assistant at Valdosta. Thomasville-Brooks County when I was at Thomasville. This year’s Vidalia-Toombs County game. It’s electric. And then Frostproof-Pahokee when I was in Florida.”
4. As a player or coach at any level, which game do you wish you could play again? “I don’t really have any regrets as far as games. I have screwed some up but hopefully learned from it. My biggest regret as a coach is that I had a chance to coach my son [Colby] at Thomasville, and I wish I’d enjoyed him more. I got too hung up on the coaching thing instead of thanking God that I had the opportunity to coach my son. Not many people get the opportunity to do that. I rode him harder than maybe I should have. I don’t regret pushing him; he did everything I ever asked and then some. But I could’ve done a better job as coach if I’d appreciated the fact that I was his dad. Great coaches do what they need to do to empower players instead of trying to change the kid to their mold, and I didn’t do that. I could’ve given him a better high school experience if I’d appreciated the gift God was giving me.”
[Marsh, who coached Thomasville from 2005 to 2012, returned to Georgia in 2016 as head coach at Toombs County. This season, Toombs was the most improved team in Class AA, according to the Maxwell Ratings. The Bulldogs’ 10 wins were the most for the school since 2000. Toombs County was 2-8 the two seasons before Marsh’s arrival.]
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