Ethan Marsh is no stranger to Noble County and will now return to his old stomping grounds, in a way, as the new head boys basketball coach at West Noble. The school announced the hire on May 13.
Marsh’s previous head coaching experience is at Central Noble but has most recently been an assistant coach at Columbia City. He is excited and optimistic about his return to a head coaching role.
“I think that was always the long term goal. It was great to be in that assistant role, great to just get to focus on basketball and not have to do any of the administrative duties, just coach all of the time,” Marsh said. “Yet it is one thing to make suggestions and another to make decisions so I am excited to get back into that.”
He was approved as the new West Noble head coach at a May 12 school board meeting.
“Ethan will bring a blue collar work ethic to the Chargers while putting together a strong feeder system,” the school’s release said on May 13.
While just 29, Marsh has been coaching on the high school level for 11 seasons after graduating from Columbia City in 2008. While at Columbia City, Marsh played for both Chris Benedict, now the boys basketball coach at Bluffton, and Dave Parker, now the principal at Norwell.
After high school, Marsh kicked off his non-stop coaching career immediately, but has always been trying to adapt his coaching based on those he has coached with and under.
“I think you are always changing. Styles always change. It is becoming more and more sure about even who you are and I think that is part of it to as a young coach is continuing to find my way and finding out who I am as a basketball coach and who I am with the players,” Marsh said.
Immediately after graduation, Marsh followed Columbia City assistant coach Jay Sefton to Central Noble where he became part of Noble County community. Sefton spent just one year with the Cougars, but Marsh stayed on staff when Brett Burrough took over the program serving as his junior varsity coach and a varsity assistant over three seasons. Marsh then returned to Columbia City as the freshman coach on the staff of Benedict, who had returned to the program. Marsh was back at his old high school for just two years before Central Noble athletic director Matt Dazey hired him to return to the Cougars as the varsity head coach.
While at Central Noble, Marsh posted a 10-13 record in 2014-15 and a 13-12 mark in 2015-16 while being named the KPC Media Area Coach of the Year during his first season. During that time, he was also 1-2 against county rival West Noble. The senior group in Marsh’s first season as the head coach for the Cougars were also the same group he coached as sixth graders during his first stint in Albion.
Over the last three seasons, Marsh has been on Brett Eberly’s staff at Columbia City where they remained competitive despite no seasons with a winning record. The Eagles went 2-1 against West Noble during that time.
“Coach Eberly was great, allowed me a ton of freedom to experiment or try to figure out what I want to do, what I don’t want to do. It helped me get back into this seat,” Marsh said.
Former West Noble coach Gary Goshert will return to the school on Marsh’s staff. Goshert lead West Noble to a NECC title in 1985-86 and has also coached at Wawasee, Manchester and Manchester University.
“He has had as much of an influence on me and what we do as anybody,” Marsh said of Goshert.
West Noble will look to rebound from an odd 13-11 season that saw head coach of seven seasons Jim Best replaced four games into last season with a 2-2 record. He was replaced on an interim basis by West Noble superintendent Galen Mast. A lot of mystery still shrouds that resignation, but the Chargers will look to move forward with Marsh after winning three of their last four games last season.
Marsh will return to the NECC, the same conference he coached in at Central Noble. Things have changed a great deal since he left three seasons ago, but the conference has also gotten very competitive. Last season, Westview went undefeated in the NECC to win both the regular season and tournament titles, but the NECC is rarely that clear cut.
The 2019-2020 season sees Westview again as an early favorite with returning Junior All-Star Charlie Yoder, yet Churubusco, Central Noble, Prairie Heights, Angola and Fairfield all return top conference players. That will push West Noble to need to perform quickly in order to stay in the top half of what could be northern Indiana’s most competitive conference.
“I think we had success in the conference before because our guys played hard and our guys became more and more skilled the longer we were there. That equates; skill is still the driving force of the game,” Marsh said. “When you have guys that play hard, you have guys that want to buy in and play basketball in what my vision of what the right way is. I think that is a successful combination in any conference.”
West Noble will continue to search for their first postseason crown, never winning a Sectional title in boys basketball.
“I think it is a program that hasn’t maybe had that tournament success at least. They have had some success; it just hasn’t been at that end of season tournament level yet. With an AD as respected as Tom [Schermerhorn] is and facilities that go along with that, I think it is a great situation for basketball,” Marsh said.
The only change to their Sectional in this year’s realignment will be Fairfield leaving the Sectional and that Class 3A Sectional 21 a five team Sectional. The Chargers will return second leading scorer Josh Gross (9.1 points, 2.7 assists, 2.2 steals per game) as well as experience in junior Joel Mast and sophomore Brock Miller.
“I hate what the phrase ‘the process’ has become with basketball especially. Obviously we are going to have goals and we are going to have plenty of time to talk about that, to embrace the daily work” Marsh said. “I was fortunate enough the first time around that those Central Noble guys and seniors especially really bought into what I was saying and it happened quick. That was the whole key to the entire thing and I think we were pretty successful over there pretty quick because of that”
“The sooner we can get there with these guys, I think there is a lot of potential.”