When John Marshall stepped down as Westville girls basketball coach in 2011, he left the door open to a possible return in some capacity.
"I was burned out a little, but always thought I'd get back in it sometime," he said. "I just didn't know when."
That 'when' turns out to be now. New coach Kyle Stage resigned unexpectedly last week, leaving Westville short-handed less than two weeks before the start of practice, and the school turned to a familiar face in hopes of a resolution.
"John definitely stepped up to the plate big time," Athletics Director Drew Eubank said. "He was asked if he would do it on an interim basis and we'll figure out how to progress at the end of the season."
Marshall coached the girls from 1999 to 2011 and remains the golf coach.
"It came up all of a sudden," Marshall said. "They asked me to do it as an interim, and then, I could stay on if I want. I didn't know if wanted to come back. I hadn't thought about it much. I talked to my wife and she asked me, 'What do you think?' I told her, 'I kind of want to do it.' If I didn't want to do it, I wasn't going to say, 'Yes.' I figured, 'Why not?' I'm a sports person. It's a good time to ease in. It's kind of like a one-year contract."
Marshall had a heart attack about a year-and-a-half ago, but said he's fine. It's just a question of the commitment that goes with coaching now that factors into any future considerations.
"Basketball's changed since I coached last," he said. "It's almost a year-round thing now with summer conditioning and AAU. It's a long season. I don't know how long I'll do it. We'll see. I'm looking forward to it. The girls are excited to start. We'll see what we've got and have fun."
Between 15 and 18 girls came to the callout meeting. The roster includes Sarah and Grace Weston, Marshall's nieces, who played a part in his decision to come back, and Nicole Albers.
"A lot of them weren't going to come out," Marshall said. "Everybody from last year was there, so that's a good sign. I had them all as students, so they know me."
Practice begins Monday with a scrimmage in two weeks.
"We're hopping right in," Marshall said. "We'll do a little of what (former coach) Josh (Goeringer) did and take a little of what I want to do, ease stuff in as they get familiar with it. I watched them play quite a few times. We've got a pretty good senior class. I don't know how deep we'll be. It goes in cycles with small schools. We're not big, but they're pretty smart, basketball savvy, and they can all handle the ball. I think we'll be successful."
Marshall has spent his entire 29-year teaching career at Westville and has worn numerous coaching hats, including varsity baseball and middle school volleyball.
"I'm getting kids now whose parents I had," he said. "I like it here. I don't want to go anywhere."
In addition to Marshall jumping on board in a pinch, Eubank is appreciative of assistant coach Ashley Spurr for bridging the gap in the summer before Stage was hired, and in the brief transition since his departure.
"I never talked to (Stage)," Eubank said. "He didn't give a reason. I really don't know. I don't want to put words in his mouth, but I'm guessing it was the (long) drive. We'll keep moving. We'll be all right."