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HEBRON ESTATES – A familiar face in Bullitt County basketball circles has been named the new girls’ head coach at North Bullitt as Dave Marion will take over the reigns of the program after the resignation of Amber Courtney a month ago.
Marion hit the ground running as the Lady Eagles will be jumping into summer action this week with a number of games on Monday, Friday and Saturday.
On Friday, Marion admitted to being a little surprised when he got the call from North Bullitt athletic director Ryan Bringhurst that he had come out on top after two interviews with the committee to fill the position left open by Courtney who is now the head coach at Bardstown High School.
Marion has been the head coach at Spencer County High School the past two seasons, but has been employed by the Bullitt County Public School System the past six years as an ISAP instructor at Eastside Middle School. From 2008 to 2010, Marion was the head girls’ coach at Eastside and during that stretch he was also an assistant coach with the Bullitt East girls’ program. For one year, he was the boys’ coach at Brown High School in Jefferson County.
Before his ties to Bullitt County, Marion worked as the girls’ coach at Whitefield Academy for two years. Since 2006, Marion has been running his own traveling team, the Louisville Lady Tigers.
At Spencer County, Marion was in a tough position, building a program that was short on talent while playing in a district that had one of the state’s top programs in Anderson County along with the two schools in Shelby County. Marion posted a 17-42 mark, losing to Anderson County in the opening round of the 30th District Tournament each of those two seasons.
During that two-year stint at Spencer County, Marion lost two games to North Bullitt (as well as two to Bullitt Central), including a 79-50 setback back on February 17.
Marion sees the move to North Bullitt as a move up in the hierarchy of girls’ basketball in the area.
“I see this as a step up in competition,” the coach said on Friday. “We did a lot of good things to get that program (at Spencer County) moving in the right direction. North Bullitt is just a step up in competition.”
Marion saw North Bullitt plays a number of games this past season and he coached against some of the Lady Eagle players back when he was the head coach at Eastside.
“I’ve actually knows some of the players since I was at Eastside,” Marion pointed out. “I have coached against them. Katie (Downey) and Erin Dolan were in the sixth grade teams when I was here. Then in the summer we’ve played some of the North Bullitt Elite teams.”
Marion is a 1987 graduate of Iroquois High School, but he did not play basketball. The 44-year old did not dream of coaching after high school and college, but coaching found him. That happened when his brother-in-law recruited him to help coach a girls’ fourth-grade team.
“He said come help and I fell in love and have coached ever since,” he recalled.
Marion, and his wife Andrea, have been married for 20 years and have two children – Emily and Andrew. Emily is 20 and a graduate of Male High School while Andrew, 14, will be starting at Male in the fall.
The new Lady Eagle coach is well aware that he is inheriting a program that returns a lot of key components from a team that has won 64 games over the past three seasons along with winning three consecutive district titles.
“I’m very, very competitive,” Marion said. “I expect to win. I also plan to incorporate some fun in practices and games. If we don’t have fun, then it is hard on everybody.”
Marion knows that in high school a coach has to alter his style based on the talent at hand. Still, the coach wants to emphasis defense.
“As far as style, I’m a defensive-minded coach,” Marion said. “I love to press and play man-to-man and use half-court traps. We want to play fast and fundamentally sound.”
Marion and the team members were going to start practicing together this past weekend before a series of games this week. The group is then going to camp at Transylvania University for three days starting on June 17. After the ‘dead period’, which ends on July 9, the group will play in a summer league with games split between Moore and Doss.
With such a late hiring for the summer, Marion will not have time to put together a summer youth camp at the school, but that is something that he will do next summer.
While Courtney built a strong varsity program at North Bullitt, she was always battling low numbers in the program overall.
“I talked about that in my interview,” Marion said. “We had low numbers at Spencer County. I built that up by going to middle school games and hosting camps and tournaments.
“We want to get the numbers up,” the coach added. “That is an issue we’ll deal with first. I’ll be out and about just to get our kids playing.”
After Marion was hired, the assistant coaches under Courtney all resigned. Just days after getting the job, Marion was busy working to find a coaching staff for the upcoming season.