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Q&A with women’s basketball coach Marshall


Head Coach Leigh Marshall works up a play at the start of over-time against Santa Ana College.  /Photo Credit: Stephen Davis, The Telescope
Head Coach Leigh Marshall works up a play at the start of over-time against Santa Ana College. /Photo Credit: Stephen Davis, The Telescope

Reigning California community college coach of the year Leigh Marshall is on the right track to leading the women’s basketball team to victory this season.

The Comets opened the season by winning their first game against Santa Ana by a final score of 86-60. Through six games this season, the Comets look strong, posting a 5-1 record.

Marshall shares that she has always loved the game, and knew that she wanted to coach even at a young age. The coach that impacted her life the most was Mike Thornton, her head coach at Orange Coast College. The following is from an email interview with Coach Marshall.

Telescope: In what way is being a coach different from being a point guard at Orange Coast?

Marshall: Being a guard helped me prepare for being a coach. You are put in a leadership role and expected to be the coach on the floor.

Telescope: Could you explain what players typically go through during practice sessions?

Marshall: At least half of our time is spent focused solely on defense. Skill work, team drills and live games against each other take up the rest of our time. All of our conditioning is done while doing basketball drills.

Telescope: What are some of your techniques to ensure that the team has a sense of teamwork and unity?

Marshall: We spend a lot of time together, on and off the court . It’s a long season and we are together year round. They also spend a lot of time together without their coaches which is great for their unity as well. Team bonding is important and this group has some of the best chemistry I’ve seen.

Telescope: Some of your previous players say that you’re a good coach both on and off the court. In what ways do you coach players off the court?

Marshall: I think it’s important to have a good relationship with them off the court and show them how important other aspects of life are. The harder they work on each area to be better, whether it’s academics or work, the better basketball player they are. All of these things are related and it’s important to show them you care about them as more than just basketball players. I want them to not only be great here, but to move on and graduate college, pick a career path they love and be successful in life .

Telescope: What are some things you want to accomplish this season for your coaching career and also for your team as a whole? How do you plan on achieving these goals?

Marshall: It’s all about the team, not my “coaching career.” This team has a real chance to be something special if we can all dial it in and understand what it takes to be successful. We are very young with 10 freshmen so we have to learn what it really means to push yourself past what you think you can do and to work hard. This is the deepest and most athletic team we have had in my 6 years and our goal is to reach our full potential. What that is is completely up to them.

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Q&A with women’s basketball coach Marshall