By Taylor Wooten
Head baseball coach Lance Marshall recently achieved 500 wins. Throughout his nearly 22 years at Franklin College, Marshall has made a definitive impact on athletes through his approachability and coaching style.
To his players, Marshall has not only been a coach, but also a mentor.
He reached win No. 500 on March 24 when the Grizzlies bested Saint Joseph’s College of Maine, 9-6. The game was aided by a grand slam by sophomore Jordan Crouse.
Marshall sees the accomplishment not just as a compliment to his coaching, but as a testament to the work ethic of the program.
“Hopefully we’ve built a very competitive, quality program and have given guys the opportunity to come compete at a high level and, more importantly, obtain their degrees,” Marshall said. “I feel like if we’ve created an environment for that to be a successful combination, then we’ve probably accomplished what we want to accomplish.”
He gave much of the credit for success to the players, assistant coaches, athletic trainers, sports information directors and Franklin College administration.
“I feel very fortunate in a lot of ways,” Marshall said.
As a coach, he has most enjoyed beingaround his team and watching them grow from young men to adults.
“Ultimately, my favorite part of it is seeing the guys that have played here at their weddings and the births of their children, things of that nature, to see how much they’ve grown with their time here,” Marshall said.“It’s not all about baseball.”
Players can view Marshall as a friend aswell as a coach, and the friendship is mutual.
“He is not just a coach; anyone can come up to him and spark a conversation about whatever,” senior Aaron Leming said. “I love that about him.”
Leming attributes his growth as a leader to his coach, who encouraged him to come out of his shell.
“Coming to Franklin, I was not very talkative, but with Marshall coming up to me and needing me to be a leader, it has helped me change as a player,” said Leming.
Much of Marshall’s success is accredited to his skillful recruitment of athletes.
“He has an eye for talent and is successful in recruiting athletes that fit in well at Franklin College,” said senior Drew Naumovich.
The goal when he began coaching in the fall of 1997 was to build up the team and recruit quality student-athletes, and now his current team has their eyes set on the conference championship.