2012-03-29 / Sports

Marietti stepping down as varsity coach

After 13 seasons Ed Marietti is stepping down as the Emeralds boys’ varsity basketball coach. 
(Pioneer-Tribune photo) After 13 seasons Ed Marietti is stepping down as the Emeralds boys’ varsity basketball coach. (Pioneer-Tribune photo) After 13 seasons, Ed Marietti has announced that he is stepping down as the Manistique High School boys’ varsity basketball coach.

Athletic Director Rob Ryan said he received Marietti’s letter of resignation Monday. The resignation will be formally accepted at the next MAS Board of Education meeting April 16.

“Despite his calm demeanor during games, coach Marietti will be remembered as an intensely competitive coach who conducted tough, structured practices,” Ryan said in a press release Tuesday. “He strove for perfection and coached with the idea of achieving it. He was demanding of his players, but those players were loyal in return, often coming back to practices as alumni during Thanksgiving or Christmas breaks. He was also well-respected by his peers.

“Coach Marietti’s fair no-nonsense style of coaching became the face of Emerald boys’ basketball. On behalf of the athletic department and entire school district, I would like to thank Ed for his contributions to the Emerald boys’ basketball program. He leaves big shoes to fill and will be missed.”

Marietti started his coaching career in Ishpeming in 1978, heading up the junior high basketball program. He coached at that level for two seasons, coached at the freshman level for one season, and junior varsity for five before going into the Navy, where he served his country for six years.

Upon his discharge from the Navy, Marietti moved to Manistique in 1994, where he coached the junior varsity basketball team for five years before taking over the varsity program from Gary Iwinski in 1999.

During his career, Marietti compiled an overall record of 154 wins and 135 losses. He had seven winning seasons, captured five district titles, and one Class C regional championship. That 2009 regional championship team lost to McBain 52-50 in the final seconds of the quarterfinal game in Cheboygan.

“It was definitely a fun year to be a coach,” Marietti said. ‘When talking to them (the 2009 team), I said several times I didn’t know just how much coaching I did that year, because basically they knew what needed to be done and they worked very hard at it.”

Still uncertain of what he will do with his extra time, Marietti said he will always remember the student-athletes he had the pleasure to coach.

“It was always about the kids,” he said.

While a lot of things have changed over the years, most notable was the lack of support from the fan base.

Understanding that there is a lot going on with girls and boys now playing basketball at the same time of year, along with wrestling and swim, it’s just not the same coaching without the crowds.

“We just don’t get the crowds anymore,” Marietti said. “They create the atmosphere and are an important part of the process. Games were actually boring at times without them.”

Marietti is also concerned about an increasing lack of participation from students over the years.

“It would be nice to see more participation from the kids,” he said. “In my 13 seasons, I think I only had to make cuts twice. I was actually searching for bodies at times. That is my one disappointment. I am surprised we can’t get more kids to play sports at Manistique. I just don’t understand it.”

Marietti’s family has always played an important role in his coaching career, and were an equally significant factor in his decision to leave the sport that has consumed the majority of his adult life.

“Karen and I have been talking about it for a couple of years now,” he said. “We are blessed with a grandchild, our family lives out of the area, and it really makes things difficult, especially during the holidays. I still have a love for coaching, but not all the other things that go with it, and I just don’t want to take time away from my time with my family.”

Asked what advice he might offer to his eventual successor on the Emerald sidelines, Marietti said, “just be yourself.”

“It’s important to just be yourself,” he stated. “Karen was always saying, ‘do you know what people are saying about the way you coach?’ It really did not bother me. They are not at my practices, not there in the locker room at half time. That is where I do the majority of my coaching. I don’t need to embarrass the kids out on the floor. They can think I am asleep on the bench for all I care. That’s just me.”

Marietti said he had a good run, but it is time for a change.

He said he was proud of what he and his teams had accomplished and blessed with the opportunity to coach so many athletes over the years.

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