As a two-time All-American wrestler at Oklahoma State University, Austin Marsden piled up more than 100 career victories and thousands of hours in the practice room.
This winter, Marsden is still at work in the practice room, but he’s now helping wrestlers at North Dakota State University pile up victories as an assistant coach.
“I knew (coaching) was something I was very passionate about,” said Marsden, a Crystal Lake Central graduate. “I’ve been involved in the sport since I was 8 years old. I’ve loved it ever since.”
Now in his second season at NDSU, Marsden takes part in practices daily with his athletes and works one-on-one each Wednesday.
“My training never stopped,” Marsden said. “It picked up even more as a coach because you’ve got more guys to work with. Today, I had one-on-ones from 10 (a.m.) to 3 (p.m.) with a bunch of guys. I’m making sure our guys are prepared.”
After preparing himself at a high level as an athlete, Marsden made coaching stops at Army West Point and the University at Buffalo before moving to Fargo in August 2019.
A member of the Big 12 Conference in wrestling, the Bison placed fifth in the league tournament last season and qualified six athletes for nationals before COVID-19 ended the season. NDSU is 2-2 this season entering three matches in California this weekend.
“Our guys are doing a great job,” Marsden said of the team facing protocols brought about by the pandemic. “They’ve adjusted to the new normal.”
Among the biggest adjustments for Marsden and the NDSU coaching staff is the NCAA’s ongoing recruiting dead period for Division I sports, which will run through at least April 15. That has meant a drastic change for coaches.
“A lot of Zoom calls,” Marsden said with a laugh. “We would normally be on the road (recruiting). We would be doing home visits. We would be bringing recruits on campus.”
Marsden said he has had an easy adjustment to life in Fargo, which reminds him of both growing up in Crystal Lake and his college years in Stillwater, Okla.
“I talk about Fargo so much to all my friends and family back home,” he said. “The people are very nice. You’ve got that Midwest hospitality. It reminds me of those small towns where the whole town shuts down and goes to the football game. It’s that type of feel.”
Marsden notices the homey atmosphere especially when he’s out in the community.
“I’m wearing NDSU wrestling gear when I’m around town and I have conversations with people wishing you the best of luck and saying, ‘We’ll be there to support you,’” he said.
From his early days as a wrestler, Marsden said he grew to appreciate the relationships he built with his coaches along the way. That has shaped his approach in his own career.
“I know how much I enjoyed those relationships on and off the mat with my coaches, and I want these athletes to have the same experience, or better, than I had,” he said.
West Texas sharpshooter: Sophomore guard Zach Toussaint (Johnsburg) is averaging a career-high 9.7 points this season and has made a team-best 16 3-pointers for West Texas A&M’s men’s basketball team, the No. 7-ranked team in NCAA Division II this week.
Toussaint scored a career-best 17 points last weekend in the Buffs’ 88-77 victory against the University of Texas Permian Basin. While helping the team to a 5-1 record, Toussaint also has connected on a team-best 44.4% of his 3-point shots.
Wrestling at Keiser: Prairie Ridge grad Josh Crandall, a freshman at NAIA Keiser University in Florida, is the team’s top wrestler at 184 pounds this season for the Seahawks.
Crandall (4-7) is tied for the team lead in wins by fall (two) and has the second-fastest pin on the team this season (48 seconds). He has a 2-0 record at 197 pounds.
· Barry Bottino writes about local college athletes for the Northwest Herald. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow @BarryOnCampus on Twitter.
Source: The Daily Chronicle