A little more than two months after being named the new head coach of the Marietta Tigers boys basketball team, Mark Duckworth is very encouraged with the direction his team is heading.
Duckworth and his squad are in the middle of an off season full of conditioning, basketball camps and shoot arounds and the former Warren Warrior junior varsity coach has been quite pleased by both the dedication of the players and the community in getting the MHS basketball program back on track.
"We are making slow but steady progress," noted the new leader of the orange and black, who also graduated from Marietta High School in 1985. "I'm very pleased with the work ethic I have seen so far. I think we are a little ahead of where I expected us to be at this point."
Duckworth has surrounded himself with a pair of coaches with a wealth of experience in junior varsity coach and MHS graduate Terry Wallis as well as freshman coach Andy Altenberger, who has over 10 years experience as a head coach in northern Ohio.
Former Marietta College Pioneer Joe Puch had also agreed to join the Tiger coaching staff as an assistant to Duckworth but has since accepted a college assistant coaching job at Heidelberg University.
"We are very fortunate to have both Andy (Altenberger) and Terry (Wallis) on our staff," said Duckworth of his staff. "Andy has a ton of experience and Terry is a life long Tiger who has coached for more than two decades. You will not find anyone more loyal than Terry as he will go above and beyond of what it takes to get the job done."
Duckworth feels the key to establishing a MHS hoops program that can be competitive this year as well as the years to follow is developing a program in the early grades that are consistent with those installed at the varsity levels.
"We will try to do the same things at each level, seven thru 12." said Duckworth, who was quite pleased with the 70 plus attendees at the recent MHS youth basketball camp. "By fall we would like to incorporate the youth leagues as well."
Getting support from the community is another essential to developing a successful program according to Duckworth. "The support so far from sponsors and the community has just been outstanding," said Duckworth, noting the cost it takes to participate in summer basketball activities. "I have been overwhelmed. We have been really blessed with the support we are receiving from our community."
Those fans wanting to keep up with the Tigers can visit mariettahoops.com on the internet.
Tiger faithful can also show their support for the Tigers by attending a fund raiser on July 19 at the Aquatic Center. The event is open to all ages and will last from 8 p.m to 10 p.m. Admission is just $5.