By STEVE KRAH
â€œHow many of you can look me in the eye and tell me you are working as hard as you can? â€¦ Find a teammate and help him push through.â€
Those are the words of Kyle Marsh in his new role as head wrestling coach at Fairfield High School.
The former West Noble High School wrestler and six-year assistant coach is putting the Falcons through a grueling workout â€” something Marsh knew well when he competed for WNHS for father Tom Marsh.
Work ethic and attention to detail are the qualities that Kyle Marsh credits for his prep success.
â€œYou could push him, push him and push him,â€ Tom Marsh said of his oldest son. â€œHe would take it and try to get better.â€
Before graduating from the Ligonier school in 2008, he was a two-time Indiana High School Athletic Association State Finals qualifier and two-time Westview Sectional champion (all at 130 pounds as a junior and senior). He was a Goshen Regional champion as a senior and place third at the Fort Wayne Semistate his final two high school campaigns.
A collegiate mat career at Trine University was cut short by a shoulder injury suffered just before the Thunderâ€™s intrasquad meet.
Kyle learned how to put in maximum effort from his father. Tom Marsh has been an assistant football coach at West Noble for more than 25 years and has led the Chargersâ€™ wrestling program since the mid-2000â€™s.
â€œBeing around him and his teams, work ethic was built into my DNA from a young age,â€ Kyle Marsh said. â€œI know there are kids that have a hard time being coached by a dad or a parent because sometimes the sport can be taken home. Iâ€™m definitely not like that. My dad coached me for six or seven years and was constantly pushing me and motivating me and Iâ€™m very thankful that he did.â€
Kyle Marsh began wrestling in the sixth grade. When Tom Marsh caught the wrestling bug, it allowed Kyle â€” and his younger siblings (Kevin and Molly) â€” plenty of off-season opportunities like tournaments and camps.
â€œIt became a family affair,â€ Kyle Marsh said. â€œMy sister probably would have been the best wrestler in the state. She was a placer at the (Indiana State Wrestling Association) state meet a couple of times.â€
Molly Marsh is now a junior catcher on the softball team at Indiana University-South Bend.
After his own college athletic career was over, Kyle began coaching wrestling, middle school football and some high school football at West Noble.
In recent years, he had discussions with his father about possibly coaching at a different school.
Kyle Marsh wound up at Fairfield â€” a Northeast Corner Conference rival to West Noble â€” after Jim Jones retired, leaving a head coaching vacancy for the Falcons.
After discussing the situation with his wife â€” the former Erica Dolezal (who had been a girls basketball coach at Goshen Middle School) â€” Kyle decided to apply.
â€œMy wife was a coach and she knows the time commitment that coaching in general takes up,â€ Kyle Marsh said. â€œShe thought it would be great. I reminded her that it would be a lot more time than just being dadâ€™s assistant. She said ought to do it.â€
Kyle and Erica have three children â€” daughter Brogan, son Layten and caught Caelin. The latter is name for Cael Sanderson â€” â€œthe greatest wrestler.â€
When Kyle got the Fairfield job, his father was the first person he called with the news.
Tom Marsh said an attribute for Kyle is his ability to relate to young athletes.
â€œIâ€™m more Old School,â€ Tom Marsh said. â€œItâ€™s a lot different than 20 years ago. There are so many more options for (students) after school. Some sports getting individualized. There are a lot of one-sport athletes.
â€œKyle does a good job of getting those kids to give it a go. They relate better to the young guys better than the old guys.â€
Father and son are ultra-competitive with everything from corn hole to golf (the two are currently tied in head-to-head matches at 22-all). Trash talk at family functions are common.
So what happens when the Falcons and Chargers step on the mat together?
â€œMy sister, brother and I even joke around it being hash-tagged in text messages,â€ Kyle Marsh said in referring to the West Noble at Fairfield NECC dual meet. â€œItâ€™s #December8.â€
Michelle Marsh â€” wife to Tom and mother to Kyle â€” is expected to be there with some sort of mashup outfit combining Fairfield and West Noble.
The date is also important at West Noble.
â€œI know he wants to beat us and we want to beat him,â€ Tom Marsh said. â€œWe donâ€™t talk about any of our kids to each other. We donâ€™t go there with each other.â€
Kyle is familiar with the returning grapplers for the Chargers.
â€œI know their kids real well and I know their wrestling styles,â€ Kyle Marsh said. â€œItâ€™s probably a slight advantage, but Iâ€™m sure my dad is doing everything he can to find about kids from over here and they will talk plenty about strategy before Dec. 8.â€
Fairfield is scheduled to open the varsity season at home Nov. 22 against Northridge.
West Noble begins varsity action Nov. 26 at the Wawasee Super Dual.