Senior staff writer
New Roncalli football coach Scott Marsh understands the reality of succeeding legendary 27-year Rebels coach Bruce Scifres.
Scifres stepped down after guiding the Rebels to the school’s ninth state championship last year. He leaves with a 248-88 record, seven state crowns plus seven semistate, 10 regional and 12 sectional titles.
“As much reverence and love that I have for coach Scifres, I know I can’t be coach Scifres,” said Marsh, who has eight years’ experience as a head coach. “It’s important that I don’t try to be somebody that I’m not; I have to coach according to my personality.
“Let’s face it, these players have known only one name at the top of the program here. The rest of what I’m trying to do is in the preparation and working hard to put a fundamentally sound team on the field.”
Marsh served as Roncalli’s defensive coordinator last season, a role that he will continue as head coach. Assistant coach David Burton will be the offensive coordinator.
Marsh’s background includes one year as coach at Howe and seven years at Perry Meridian before coming to Roncalli and helping guide the Rebels to the 2016 state title. Due to the Indiana High School Athletic Association’s success factor, Roncalli advances to Class 5A for the next two seasons. He was linebacker/special team’s coach on Warren Central’s undefeated 5A state championship team in 2006.
Marsh’s Perry Meridian teams led the state in passing in 2012 and ’13 in posting back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in a decade The Falcons led all 6A teams in rushing in 2014.
A former three-year starting linebacker at Morehead (Ky.) State University, Marsh grew aware of Roncalli’s legacy after coaching for 12 years in the area and through his wife, Missy, a Roncalli graduate who has coached the Rebels girls’ volleyball team for 10 years.
“I had a giant shove in this direction from her,” Marsh said. “There is no one who is more all in about the mission of Roncalli High School than my wife.”
A year as an assistant under Scifres provided him with an understanding of the culture of Roncalli football.
“Last year was invaluable because it enabled me to soak in everything that is here,” Marsh said. “I understand the values, the mission of the school and the commitment to faith. Those are just as important, even more so, than the football.
“There are a lot of stakeholders in this program – alumni, parents, students and the entire Southside Catholic community. I have an obligation to do this the right way for each of those stakeholders.”
He witnessed firsthand last year the quality seniors who provided leadership and motivation for younger players to develop and perform. He also understands why many youngsters who play Catholic Youth Organization football at Southside schools in the extended shadow of Roncalli wear Rebels apparel to their schools.
“They get it,” said Marsh, referring to when those student-athletes arrive at Roncalli. “It is a blessing to coach kids in this kind of environment.”
Marsh becomes Roncalli’s eighth coach. Scifres is the new executive director of the CYO of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.
Marsh will teach advanced physical conditioning at Roncalli in the fall. He and his wife have four children.