RICHMOND – There aren’t many high school lifers.
Nolan Marcus was one of them.
The Edison High School graduate grew up around the Wildcats baseball team, was a batboy for the squad Wildcats and proudly graduated as a Wildcat.
“I’ve been around it all my life and I wanted to keep being around it,” said Marcus, who is heading to Marietta College to continue his baseball career. “Since I was in third grade, I would go and practice with them every day. Coach (Bill) Beattie would yell at me. I was 8-years-old and being screamed at like I was one of the older kids.”
Marcus continued as a batboy through eighth grade.
“That was a lot of fun,” he said with a laugh. “I heard a lot of stuff that I probably shouldn’t have heard. It was great to be around it every day because I learned how things are supposed to be done the right way before I even played in high school.”
Edison coach Mike Collopy has been around to see Marcus from those early days.
“Nolan playing for us was very special in that he has been a part of the program for years starting at a very young age,” Collopy said. “He started out coming onto the field after games, then as a batboy in the dugout, and finally as a player. So literally I have watched him grow from a toddler to a young man.
“I can remember playing Columbus Bishop Watterson in the regional finals in 2002 and Nolan was asking Jim (father Jim Marcus) for money for the concession stand while he was calling pitches against the No. 1 team in the state. To Jim’s credit he stayed a lot calmer that most, including me. (Edison lost in the state finals that year).
“Another funny story that we still talk about happened in 2007. We were staying the night at a hotel before the regional finals when evidently Nolan drank so much Mountain Dew that he was bouncing all over the hotel like a humming bird, messing with the players. The funny thing is that when our former players come back and those games are mentioned, they remember those things as much as the wins.”
Marcus said there’s not much of a difference between Beattie and Collopy as head coaches.
“They are the exact same people because they ran the program the exact same way,” he said. “Discipline – everything was about the same. Coach Collopy is a little more laid back than coach Beattie was. Coach Beattie’s face would turn purple and blue when he would yell at you. Coach Collopy just gives you that look. It’s not a good look to have looking at you.
“I understood that coach Beattie and coach Collopy would get on us to make us better. There was nothing personal about it.
“I saw them as being intense for all the right reasons. They were just trying to get us to compete to the best abilities that we have. They were just trying to get the most out of us.”
Marcus talked about being a four-year starter for the Wildcats.
“It’s mind blowing that I was able to do that, seeing all those really good players who have come through this program – it’s an honor. It’s a great feeling,” he said.
“We have been blessed to have some good teams and Nolan has been a part of them,” commented Collopy. “Throughout the years, he has been around a lot of great players and saw how they conducted themselves which helps bridge the present players to the past.
“As a player, Nolan has grown from a skill standpoint, but the one thing that I am most proud of is the manner in which he has grown as a leader. When our younger players see our best player working on the field before the game or coming early or staying late to work on his game it sends a pretty strong message.”
Bound for Division III power Marietta
After another summer of Legion ball, Marcus will head to Marietta, which is a perennial Division III national power.
“Throughout the college recruiting process, Marietta showed that they were making him a priority which I feel was essential in him making the decision to go there,” said Collopy. “He knows he is going to have an opportunity to be a part of one of the premier college baseball program in the nation, regardless of the division.
“Some of his best qualities as a player are his competitiveness, athleticism, versatility, and baseball IQ which will serve him well when he starts playing in the fall. Those are some of the main qualities that attracted college coaches.”
Marietta is 225-72 in the past six seasons, including 95-12 while winning back-to-back national championships in 2011-12.
“I felt like it was a good fit when I went down and visited,” said Marcus, who is undecided on his major. “I fit in well with the coaches and the team. I wanted to go somewhere I would have a chance to play and possibly win a national championship.”
Sharing the dugout with his father
Marcus also spent his Edison career in the dugout with his father Jim.
“Being a coach’s kid is not easy and the only people that really understand that are the players who have been coached by their dad,” said Collopy. “From start to finish I am sure he has had to endure criticism from others, which comes with the territory. You have to ignore the noise or it will eat you up. He has handled that aspect tremendously.”
Marcus said it was a blessing to have his father there.
“With my dad, it made things a lot easier,” he said. “We could talk about stuff and I think that made me a better player being able to talk to one of the coaches personally any time I wanted – see what I’m doing wrong, what he thinks I’m doing wrong, what he thinks I’m doing right and what he thinks I can improve on. And, him being my dad, made things 10 times better, the experience of being at Edison.
“There were a couple of games I remember that he got really mad at me. He kind of mumbles it and it clicks in my head that I have to get going or I’m going to hear about it at home. If anything went home, we just talked about it. We understand each other and where each other is coming from. Sometimes I didn’t like the pitches he called and I would tell him in a joking way so he wouldn’t take it personally.”
Down to 2 sports
A three-sport athlete for two years, Marcus gave up basketball and concentrated on baseball his final two seasons.
“No regrets,” he said. “During the winter, coach Collopy stood aside and us players ran the conditioning, hitting and throwing and we worked on those skills. We were down at Stanton working our butts off. Our conditioning coach came down and set up workouts and they were really tough.”
Marcus was a first-team all-Eastern District and special mention all-Ohio as a quarterback for the Wildcats. He was 109-for-183 for 1,590 yards, 20 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He also ran the ball 149 times for 496 yards and eight scores. As a defensive back, he picked off three passes, forced a fumble and had a fumble recovery.
Marcus was an all-OVAC first-team selection his junior and senior years and the Class 5A Player of the Year this season. He was a Division II all-state honorable mention pick. He participated in the OVAC All-Star game and is in Columbus today and tomorrow competing in the Mizuno All-Star game.
“Football makes you mentally tough and physically tough and that’s still what you need to compete in baseball,” he said. “There are some situations that you are going to be in where you are going to have to dig deep and use your mental toughness and there are some things, if you are hurt, you have to use the physical aspects of the game.”
He finished his Wildcats career with a .340 batting average, 90 hits, 15 wins, four saves, a 2.16 ERA and 170 strikeouts as a pitcher.
“I want to thank God for all He has given me,” said Marcus. “I want to thank my mom and dad for always being there for me. My sister, my grandma and grandpa and my family for the support they’ve shown me. I want to thank coach Collopy and all the baseball coaches because they have shown an immense amount of support for me, along with coach Stickles and all the football coaches.
“I want to thank everybody for their support, some I don’t know and some I know.”