Chris Marshall accepted the Lawrence High boys tennis coaching position without any idea of the kind of talent he’ll inherit or, for that matter, any clue where or when the Lions will practice and play.
And he jumped at the chance.
“Actually,” Marshall said, “I’m very excited.”
Marshall, an LHS assistant six years under legendary longtime Lions coach Dick Wedel, was hired to replace Steve Hudson, who resigned after accepting a teaching position in Topeka and said he found the logistics too difficult to overcome. Hudson remains the LHS girls coach.
Marshall is a Salina native who graduated from Kansas University and teaches at Cordley Elementary. He’s also head football coach at Central.
He considers himself fortunate to have learned under Wedel.
“He’s a very interesting man,” Marshall said of Wedel. “Very, very entertaining. I learned more coaching those six years than I did growing up and playing the whole time. I learned so much about percentages and angles. When I played, I was a banger. I’d hit it as hard as I can. I learned a lot of patience and how to play to my strengths and how to help kids play to their strengths.
“We had some good players, but we were usually below average talent-wise. We didn’t get a lot of the country-club kids, kids who had been playing a long time. It’s fun to teach kids who haven’t had a lot of experience. We get a lot of beginners at Lawrence High.”
Now, about those courts …
Sometime this spring, the Lions will call the new Lawrence Tennis Center home. But construction crews haven’t been able to pour the top layer of the playing surface — and won’t be able to, Marshall says — until the temperature is above 50 degrees for five consecutive days.
“We don’t know where we’ll be starting the season,” Marshall said. “We’ll probably be at (Kansas University’s) Robinson (courts). Hopefully, we’ll get that set. I’m real excited about the new courts.”
And the LHS administration is excited about its newest hire. Officially hired Monday, Marshall will be introduced to his team Wednesday.
“We’re real happy to have him as our boys tennis coach,” LHS athletic director Ron Commons said. “Now if we could just get some good weather, we’d be set.”