Donnie Marsh enters his sixth season as associate head coach at UAB. Marsh's 30-plus years of college basketball coaching experience include stops at Florida State, Virginia Tech, Indiana and head coach at Florida International.
Marsh plays a big role with the men's basketball program, covering everything from scheduling to overseeing academic schedules to ordering equipment.
On the court, Marsh's primary role is to coordinate the Blazers' efforts on the defensive side of the ball. Under his guidance, UAB's defense has made tremendous strides.
With Marsh's help, the men's basketball team has reached four consecutive postseasons (3 NITs and 1 NCAA) and compiled an impressive record of 92-41 (.692) during that span. Furthermore, with the three NIT appearances, UAB has now recorded 25 postseason appearances in the 33-year history of the Blazer basketball program.
A big reason why UAB has won 92 games over the past four seasons is because of the defensive prowess. The Blazers have held the opposition to only an average of 64.1 ppg during the stretch.
Last season, UAB finished the campaign ranked second in C-USA and 41st in the NCAA statistics in scoring defense, allowing 62.6 points per game. That number was also the fifth-lowest in a season in school history. Additionally, the Blazers held opponents to 41.3 percent from the field, which ranked third in the league, and 31.0 percent shooting from beyond the arc, which was third in the league and 21st in the country. That played a big part in the Blazers' return to the NCAA Tournament and the first outright C-USA regular-season championship in school history.
During the 2009-10 season, the Blazers held opponents to just 60.4 points per game, which not only rated second-best in C-USA, but it also ranked third in the UAB record books. The Blazers also finished the year ranked 20th in the nation in scoring defense. The defense was a major reason why the Blazers tied the single-season school record for wins with 25 (25-9) and set a school record to start a season with 18 victories over their first 20 games of the year.
In 2007-08, Marsh had a hand in guiding the Blazers to one of their biggest turnarounds in school history. In his first season (2006-07), UAB went 15-16. However, the Blazers improved to 23-11 in Marsh's second year, which accounted for the third-highest single-season turnaround in UAB lore. In fact, the 23 victories in 2007-08 were tied for the third most in program history, while the 12 Conference USA wins tied for the most wins by a UAB team since the league's inception in 1995.
Marsh, who is known as one of the top recruiters in the nation, made an immediate impact on the UAB basketball program during his first season in 2006-07. He was responsible for bringing several newcomers to Birmingham who helped make up the nation's ninth-ranked class in 2007, according to CollegeHoopsUpdate.com. Additionally, the 2007 class was ranked among the nation's top 25 of incoming classes by almost every major recruiting service.
Marsh came to UAB from Indiana where his presence was felt immediately. Prior to Marsh's arrival, Indiana ranked eighth in league play in points allowed (67.6) and fifth in field goal percentage defense (.433). Under Marsh's direction, the Hoosier defense improved considerably, rising to fifth in scoring defense (63.6) and tied for third in field goal percentage defense (.420).
Marsh arrived in Bloomington after spending the previous four seasons as the head coach at Florida International. During his tenure in Miami, the Golden Panthers ranked among the Sun Belt Conference leaders in total defense and offensive rebounding.
Marsh also played a key role in the development of guard Carlos Arroyo. After his stellar FIU career ended in 2001, Arroyo became the fifth Puerto Rico native in history to play in the NBA when he debuted for the Toronto Raptors. Arroyo has also played with the Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic, Miami Heat and Boston Celtics. Arroyo also was a member of the Puerto Rico national team that participated in the 2004 Summer Olympic Games at Athens, Greece.
Prior to Florida International, Marsh served as an assistant (1997-99) and associate head coach (1999-00) at Virginia Tech. Marsh had gone to Virginia Tech after serving as an assistant coach at Florida State from 1995-97. Marsh helped the Seminoles to the 1997 National Invitation Tournament championship game before losing to Michigan.
As the head coach at Trenton State (N.J.) College, now named College of New Jersey, from 1989-93, Marsh compiled a four-year record of 64-41. This was highlighted by a 22-6 record and NCAA Tournament berth in 1990.
A 1979 graduate of Franklin & Marshall (Pa.) College with a bachelor's degree in history and education, Marsh earned All-American honors and helped the Diplomats to a 27-5 record and NCAA Division III Final Four. The Atlanta Hawks chose Marsh with their third round pick (52nd overall) in the 1979 NBA Draft. Marsh was selected one spot ahead of former Notre Dame center Bill Laimbeer, who was tabbed by the Detroit Pistons.
After a brief professional playing stint, Marsh spent six years as associate director of admissions, assistant basketball coach and head baseball coach at Franklin & Marshall. For one year, Marsh was president of Players in Action, Inc., a firm that represents professional athletes.
Marsh made his head coaching debut at Division III Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, where he compiled a 12-13 ledger in 1988-89 before moving on to the College of New Jersey.
Marsh and his wife, LaRoyce, have a son, Tyler (23), and a daughter, Sydnee (19).