The questions started coming for Ron Marlan a few years ago.
And they have come more frequently of late.
The DeWitt boys basketball coach was constantly asked about what he was going to do once the first of his three kids entered high school in Mason.
And with that happening next school year, Marlan has decided to step down after 14 seasons leading the boys varsity team to spend more time with his family.
“I don’t want to miss those years, (because) it’s so short,” Marlan said. “I’ve decided it’s time to step back and be a dad and sit in the stands and watch him play and enjoy all my kids as they grow and get older.”
Marlan enjoyed a successful tenure on the sidelines for the Panthers. He guided DeWitt to a runner-up finish in Class B during the 2003-04 season – his first in charge of the varsity squad. The Panthers also had a pair of stretches under his leadership where they won three consecutive league championships, most recently in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
That early lengthy tournament run and big wins and league championships will stick out to Marlan about his time leading DeWitt. But as important as that success was getting to share the experience of leading a basketball program with childhood friend Bill McCullen, who is DeWitt’s girls basketball coach, he said. Marlan spent some time helping McCullen with his program before taking over the boys varsity job in 2003.
“Bill and I have been friends since first grade,” Marlan said. “He’s from Mason also, and we grew up together, played high school sports together. It’s just been an awesome experience to be able to continue our friendship and continue to see each other. It’s been such a great friendship for us forever that it just gives us a great excuse to be in the gym together again and ride the buses together.
“We’ve had some great times where we came home and we both captured a league title on the same night and the bus ride home is a lot of fun with all the kids. It’s been a neat experience being able to share all that with him.”
Marlan said he will miss those experiences, but will enjoy a change of pace of being a father in the stands and not having to worry about the stresses of coaching.
“There’s a lot of work that goes into all the games,” Marlan said. “All the hours outside the gym are the things that really add up on you. In the gym and practicing and in the gym for games — that’s fun. It’s all the stuff outside that takes time away from your family that makes it hard.”