Marino hired as Plum boys basketball coach

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Wednesday, June 19, 2019 | 9:52 AM


When Mark Marino joined the men’s basketball coaching staff at Lycoming College in 2008, his first task as a high school talent evaluator was to observe Plum standout Andrew Cressler as Cressler was going into his senior season with the Mustangs.

“I sat down, watched him play and took notes on him,” Marino said. “He was such a talented player.”

Marino and Division III Lycoming weren’t able to bring in Cressler, who ended up playing at Pitt-Greensburg and Seton Hill following his 2009 graduation from Plum.

But during that time, Marino gained an understanding of the kind of athletes the Plum program is able to produce.

So, it comes as no surprise he is excited to begin a new chapter in his basketball coaching career at the helm of the Mustangs. He was hired at Tuesday’s Plum School Board meeting.

“I am looking forward to taking control of a 5A program with such rich tradition in boys basketball,” Marino said. “I want to work from the youngest levels of the elementary program the whole way up to the high school to build the program to where it’s been for many years.”

Marino, a native of Curwensville and a 2001 Lock Haven graduate, is making the transition to Plum after three seasons as the boys coach at Brownsville. He takes over the Mustangs program from Hart Coleman who, after two seasons with Plum, is the new boys coach at St. Joseph.

Marino posted a 27-40 record while at the helm of the Falcons and led the 2017-18 squad to the WPIAL Class 3A playoffs.

“I was very happy with my time at Brownsville and the people I met there,” he said.

Marino’s most successful season as a high school coach came in the 2013-14 campaign when he guided the Hempfield boys team to a 21-3 overall mark, a Section 1-AAAA title at 12-0 and a spot in the WPIAL quarterfinals.

A previously planned vacation being taken over the next week will delay Marino’s start with his new team. But, he said, he will be champing at the bit to get back and begin working with the Mustangs players.

Plum lost several to graduation from the 2018-19 team, but Marino will have the opportunity to build around returning players such as rising junior Connor Moss.

Moss, a 6-foot-2 guard, finished second on the team in scoring this past season at 14.1 points a game. He was a top rebounder and also shot 83 percent from the free-throw line.

His efforts earned him Section 3-5A honorable-mention recognition.

Plum finished the 2018-19 season 5-17 overall and 5-9 in Section 3-5A. The team has missed the WPIAL playoffs the past three seasons.

Marino said he also is looking forward to catching up with former Plum basketball coach Ron Richards, who guided the Mustangs for 17 years, won 254 games, captured four section championships and made the WPIAL playoffs 10 times before resigning after the 2016-17 season.

“Coach Marino has had some great experiences at both the collegiate and high school levels,” Plum athletic director Josh Shoop said. “He’s extremely professional and very organized. I think it’s a really exciting moment for Plum School District and for Plum basketball.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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