Prep Baseball: Murray’s new coach Marce Wilson has Spartans back in the game
Prep baseball • Torn rotator cuff snuffed out a pro career with Yanks before it even started.
Published: April 19, 2012 11:03AM
Updated: April 19, 2012 12:15PM
Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune Marce Wilson, the Murray High baseball coach who turned down a professional baseball contract back in the day to get married works with his team during a recent practice at Ken Price field in Murray on Monday, April 16, 2012. He's now coached at two high schools and is angling to get Murray back into the postseason for the first time since 2009.

Murray • Marce Wilson has a severe aversion to attention. It’s not that he abhors it. But he feels that what he does is normal, and not worthy of persistent praise.

Even so, Wilson does things that are attention-grabbing.

Upon graduating from Bellevue University and being drafted by the New York Yankees in 1996, Wilson said no thanks, married his fianceé Ivy and started a family.

When he went on to coach baseball at West High, he took a previously down-trodden program and led it to seven consecutive state playoff appearances.

Now, in his first season at Murray High, Wilson has turned the Spartans into a contender. A program that hasn’t sniffed the postseason since 2009 is now 6-4, after having won five of six to answer a three-game losing streak to start the year.

“Every game is important,” Wilson said. “It’s like a play-in game to all of us. We have to play well in every game, pitch well in every game and hit well in every game. Otherwise, it means nothing.”

Wilson chuckled recalling the incredulous reaction he received when he decided not to sign a professional contract with America’s most glamorous baseball organization.

Not many knew that Wilson had pitched Bellevue to the NAIA collegiate world series with a torn throwing rotator cuff in his shoulder that was so painful that lifting his arm became a chore.

Not many knew that he had called off his marriage to Ivy the previous summer, and that doing so a second time would’ve been detrimental to the health of his relationship.

And not many knew that Wilson felt he had taken the game as far as it could go. He had a 93 mph fastball, but stood just 5-foot-11. Coming out of high school, he never thought college was a possibility, much less collegiate baseball stardom.

Wilson thought the chances of making the Yankees were slim. So, between professional baseball, and his family, he chose his family.

“I was ready to move on with my life,” Wilson said. “I never expected to go to college and win a national title. My biggest regret is not being able to get my rookie card.”

Here, in 2012, however, Wilson carries with him the same characteristics that made him so successful as a player. He’s hard on his team, yet he knows when to ease back on the reins. He gets his message across without being overbearing.

His players have taken to him and his coaching style. The Spartans lost their first three games, but have taken off since. There have been close wins over Juan Diego and West. There have been blowouts over Kearns, Bountiful and Olympus.

Through it all, Murray is again competitive, and no longer an afterthought in high school baseball circles.

“We all think he’s a great coach,” said Mitch Dial, a senior utility man. “He doesn’t play any favorites and that’s what we like about him. He works hard, and he loves the game and this team. We love playing for him.”

Twitter: @tonyaggieville

Murray baseball find gem in Marce Wilson

Wilson is originally from Salt Lake City, growing up in Rose Park.

He pitched Bellevue (Nebraska) to the College World Series in 1996.

He was drafted by the New York Yankees in 1996, but decided against playing pro ball.

After coaching at West High from 1998-2005, Wilson is now in his first season at Murray High.