Longtime Greely coach Marks steps down
CUMBERLAND—After winning 346 games and three Gold Balls in a quarter-century at the helm, Ken Marks has stepped down as the boys' basketball coach at Greely High School to become the assistant principal at Greely Middle School.
"Giving up basketball is the hard part," said Marks. "I still enjoy (coaching). I have great kids. I'll miss the relationships most. Watching the kids grow and mature. It's been a true honor to coach the kids I've coached. I've had some great athletes who were also great people."
In all, Marks coached for 35 years at Greely, also serving as an assistant to Gerry Wiles before inheriting the program for the 1987-88 season. The Rangers had no peer as a Class B program in the 1990s, winning nearly 90 percent of their games and the 1995, 1997 (in undefeated fashion) and 1998 state championships.
In recent seasons, Greely was consistently at or near the top of the Western Maine Conference. Last winter, the Rangers ended up 13-6 after losing on a buzzer beater to Lincoln Academy in the Western B preliminary round.
Marks has also served as Greely's Assistant Athletic Director.
Over the years, Marks and Greely engaged in some memorable battles with conference rivals like Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth.
Falmouth coach Dave Halligan, who started with the Yachtsmen the same year Marks became the Rangers' head man, paid tribute to his rival.
"Ken is a tremendous asset to basketball in general in the state of Maine," Halligan said. "He's well organized. He's had outstanding players who have benefited from his tutelage. He had championship teams, but even when they didn't win championships, they played like champions. He did it the right way and taught the right things. We had some of our best battles over the years."
Marks said that he'll miss the coaches in the conference.
"We're all great friends," he said. "It's a great fraternity and I'll miss them."
Greely athletic director David Shapiro said that Marks is "everything you want in a coach."
"Ken runs a model program," said Shapiro. "He teaches the whole kid. It's an intangible you want all coaches to have. I saw him work with young men last year and watched them grow. It was a huge success. A lot of kids benefited from him over the past 25 years."
Former Greely (and current North Yarmouth Academy) AD Jack Hardy said that Marks' impact was felt throughout the complete athletic department.
"Ken was one of the anchors of Greely athletics in general," said Hardy. "He's so respected by the community. He gave feedback to the students, set goals. He covered everything so nicely. Communication is his strength. He was a great role model for the kids and the other coaches."
Shapiro said that the vacant position will be posted and that candidates will be considered from both inside and outside of the program.
"(Ken will) be tough to replace," Shapiro said.