Will Marshall, who graduated from Frisco Centennial in 2013 and now pitches for the University of Dallas, is listed at 5 feet 5 inches tall and 150 pounds on the school’s athletic website.
His age and his stature could not be any less related to the size of his passion for helping young baseball players achieve their dreams.
Last fall, in between classes, team workouts and giving individual lessons, Marshall coached six select baseball teams. This summer, he’s the head coach of the 18-and-under club in the Texas Stallions organization, which he helped establish.
While some may question his age, Marshall believes that it only works to his advantage.
“From a coach-to-player relationship standpoint, I think it’s much more beneficial,” Marshall said. “Not very many kids can go up to a 45-year-old coach and tell him exactly how they feel or say, ‘I want to go play this position and this is what we should do.’ … It’s more of a team effort. People can voice their opinions, rather than [me saying], ‘This is the law, and this is how it’s going to be.’”
Marshall coaches a team that includes local standout players such as Centennial’s Alexei Cazarin, Paul Marshall, George Sell, John Mobley, Jack Briggs, Cayden Coleman, Cade Martinez and Noah Burt; The Colony’s Logan Jones; Allen’s Heath Weimer; McKinney Christian’s Will Jacobs; Frisco Legacy Christian’s Justin Bush; and Frisco Lone Star’s Tony Yaniello.
So far, those players have responded.
As of June 29, the Stallions are 5-3 in the Connie Mack Division of the Lone Star Amateur Baseball Association, good enough for second place in the early going.
In addition to playing in the LSABA, Will Marshall takes his team to showcase tournaments nearly every weekend. His club, which is made up of mainly 16 and 17 year olds playing up a division, has already traveled to the University of Oklahoma and Texas Tech University and has plans to travel to Oral Roberts University, the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of Central Oklahoma later this summer.
“Once we get to the 16-year-old division, every tournament that they play in will be a showcase tournament. We’re going to one of the major schools,” Will Marshall said. “We go to these tournaments, we know which coach is going to be there, and we send them an email with our roster and what kids are probably eligible to go to that school in hopes that all the kids are going to get a chance to be recruited.”
Will Marshall believes that exposing kids to the high-pressure showcase environment early only helps them in the long run.
“They go to the tournaments and say, ‘These tournaments are for real, they really matter,’” he said. “[If] they see a coach standing there watching them play and watching their every move at an early age, by the time they get to 18-year-old ball, even if they’re only 17, they have a much better chance of being relaxed and getting recruited.”
The young coach also uses his recent experience doing exactly what his players are attempting to do now gives his team a leg up.
“We just went through the process of trying to get recruited, so it’s not like some guy saying, ‘When I went to college,’” Will Marshall said. “We’re in college right now. We can tell them the names of the coaches that we’re playing for and what exactly they do when they go recruit players. … You see someone who’s actually doing it right now and it makes it a little bit more real.”
There are currently two 18-year-olds on Will Marshall’s team, and both have committed to playing at the collegiate level. Jacobs will be attending Oklahoma Wesleyan University and Copeland will be playing for Ranger College.
The coach sees the Stallions as a way for kids to access summer ball and have a positive experience without fighting for playing time or breaking the bank.
“We’re not the big [McKinney Marshals] team, we’re not a D-BAT team or anything like that,” Will Marshall said. “Everyone looks at those teams and says, ‘Oh, that’s gonna be an awesome team.’ But D-BAT may have four teams in the 16-year-old division, and there might only be one good team out of those four.
“… We want to have [one or two teams] that are going to be able to compete.”
While many have come to recognize and respect Will Marshall as a coach, even he has to laugh at the reactions of opposing coaches that haven’t run into the Stallions.
“The only disadvantage of being a younger coach is you go out to the plate meeting and they go, ‘Who’s this 12-year-old kid coming out here?’” he said. “They don’t believe that you’re the coach.”