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New bench boss excited to take on his first head coaching job
Shortly after he was officially named the new St. John’s Edge coach this week, Steve Marcus was talking to a friend who was involved in three mid-season basketball coaching changes in Israel.
“The first guy came in and tried to re-write the play book and rule with an iron fist,” Marcus said. “He got fired. The next one came in and tried to do the same. And he got fired.
“Then the third guy came in, kept everything the same, kept a positive attitude and they ended up winning the championship.
“So I’m not coming in here looking to reinvent the wheel.”
Marcus, still only 27, landed his first head coaching job this week when he was tabbed to replace Doug Plumb, who stepped down from the position this week for personal reasons.
Marcus takes over an Edge team which has only two games remaining in the regular season (Saturday night and Sunday afternoon against P.E.I.’s Island Storm at Mile One Centre) before playoffs open.
He takes over a 20-18 team that’s been reeling, with three losses in its last four games and winners of only three of its last 10.
“There’s too much talent here to be 20-18,” Marcus said.
A career assistant coach, the Springfield, Mass., native is both excited and ready for his first head coaching gig, noting the Edge players “trust me” and, “are ready to play for me.
“There’s too much talent here to be 20-18." — Steve Marcus
“I won’t be changing a ton of things,” he said.
So just who is Steve Marcus?
He attended St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, N.Y., where he was a roommate of Toronto’s Andrew Nicholson, who would go on to enjoy an NBA career (Nicholson is currently playing in China).
Marcus was the St. Bonaventure team’s student manager, and was part of the 2012 squad which won the Atlantic 10 championship and went to the NCAA Tournament.
After university, Marcus spent two years with Maine of the NBA G-League (it was the D-League then), working as the assistant director of basketball operations under coach Scott Morrison of P.E.I. (Morrison is currently an assistant coach with the Boston Celtics.)
Following his stint with Maine, Marcus worked a spell with Adidas sportswear, primarily with NBA and WNBA players on commercial and promo shoots.
In 2016-17, Marcus was back in basketball again, working as a graduate assistant coach at NC State under head coach Mark Gottfried.
It was in Raleigh that he met Jeff Dunlap, NC State’s director of basketball operations. So when Dunlap was hired as the Edge’s first coach in 2017-18, he brought Marcus along with him to Newfoundland.
“There wasn’t much money,” Marcus said. “I was doing it to help the resume.”
Last season, Marcus worked alongside Plumb, the Edge’s other assistant coach. When Dunlap left after last season to take up a position with the Cal State-Northridge NCAA program, Plumb was appointed head coach and Marcus was made a full-time paid assistant.
“Doug called me over his house Monday and told me his decision,” Marcus said of Plumb’s choice to return home to B.C. “I coached AAU under-17 stuff at home, but this is my first head coaching job.
“I’m pretty excited.”