Vernon Marsh never thought he would be a tennis coach. A standout athlete in basketball and football, Marsh’s first experience on the hardcourt came after a college coach convinced him to give the sport a try.
It may not have been the exact path he envisioned, but Marsh went on to lead the Poteet tennis program for the past 21 years.
He wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Marsh retired at the end of the school year after 33 years as a coach and educator. After wrestling with the idea over the last few years, the longtime Poteet coach said the time was finally right to start his next chapter.
“I’ve been saying every year for the last five years, ‘One more year, one more year,’ and it finally happened,” said Marsh, who added he had been seriously considering retirement for two years. “It’s just a feeling. It’s time.”
After consulting with his wife and kids, Marsh made the decision official. His family told him he deserves to enjoy life at his own pace. And Marsh is ready for that.
“That’s what I’m looking forward to doing,” he said. “I’ve been on schedule pretty much all my life. And now, it’s free time.”
From an early age, Marsh knew he wanted to be a coach. He began coaching younger kids in Little League baseball at age 12 and never looked back.
In addition to his parents, Marsh said the biggest influence on his career path was his brother, Joe. Joe Marsh spent 35 years coaching track and football at Southwest High School in San Antonio before retiring about five years ago.
“He was older than I was, and I looked up to him,” Vernon said.
Vernon Marsh also has ties to Southwest. He was a 1978 graduate and coached in the school district for 12 years. Previously, Marsh had coached at Central Catholic and Providence high schools.
Marsh started at Poteet in 1997 when he was hired by then-athletic director Butch Tudyk. Marsh started as head coach for girls basketball and tennis while also assisting with volleyball. He has also been an elementary PE teacher for his entire tenure at Poteet.
That connection—coaching kids from elementary through high school—created a special bond.
“It makes them really attached to you, bringing them up since they were kids,” Marsh said. “It’s touching to see all that growth in them, where they started and where they ended up. It’s amazing.”
Marsh saw the most success in tennis, where he coached regional qualifiers in 20 of his 21 years. He also coached Jeanette Chavez, who is the only Poteet tennis player to ever reach the state tournament.
Marsh called that 2008 season one of his most memorable as a coach.
But he enters retirement with plenty of good memories.
“I’ve really enjoyed working there,” Marsh said. “The faculty, the staff, the community—everybody’s been really supportive. I really appreciate them a great deal. I’m going to miss them.”
Now, Marsh’s days will consist of fishing, golfing, spoiling his five grandchildren and traveling. Marsh didn’t waste any time—making his way to the Bahamas for a trip this week.
Marsh added he finally has time and “no excuses” not to work on some unfinished projects around the house.
Still, it could take some time adjusting to retirement. After all, Marsh is leaving, in his words, “the best job in the world.”
“It’s been a blast. I really had the time of my life, doing what I love doing,” he said. “I love coaching and I love teaching. It’s a great field. I’m going to miss it.”