Every great empire, dynasty, supreme ruler(s), etc all have their time in the sun but eventually all must come back to reality and perish with the rest of us. That even includes the leaders of America's pastime. Managers are sometimes more valuable to a team than any one owner, player, or even fan and that is what Stanford has had for the last billion years in Mark Marquess; technically he's 67 years young. He has Stanford in his blood and may go down as one of the best if not the best coach in Stanford history. Not just in baseball but in the entire sports program at Stanford University. That list includes Pop Warner and Bill Walsh.
Marquess came to Stanford in 1965 and played baseball all 4 years. He was a good ballplayer and played professionally for a few years but came back to coach his alma mater in 1977 and was successful from day one. In his first season, Stanford won 43 games (up to that point) the most wins in the history of the program. Marquess was building Stanford into a baseball powerhouse.
Since Marquess took over the head-coaching duties, Stanford has had 2, yes TWO non-winning seasons in 38 years. Marquess led Stanford to 14 seasons of 40-plus wins and 6 seasons with 50 or more victories. Marquess has only coached 9 teams that didn't make the NCAA tournament. Of the 29 teams that made at least a regional, 14 of those squads went on the College World Series. In 1987 and 1988, Marquess coached Stanford to a combined record of 99-40 and 2 National Championships. In 1990, Stanford had 59 wins and would have clinched their 3rd title in 4 years if they had just been on the other side of the bracket. From 1995-2004, Marquess accumulated 463 wins (46 wins/season). Stanford went to the College World Series in 7 of the 10 years with a streak of five in a row. Marquess never won another title in that span but experienced a few heartbreaking second-place finishes.
Marquess has been blessed with All-Americans, record-breakers, and future hall-of-famers but he was always the driver of Stanford's success. As Marquess ages, however, Stanford baseball is finding success less frequently. In fact, they have only appeared in Omaha one time in the last 10 years. However winning over 1500 games can do that to a man.
Entering the 2015 season, Marquess will lead a preseason top-25 ranked Stanford team built on pitching. Stanford will be led by preseason All-American Cal Quantrill. This Stanford team is coming off a 2014 Super Regional defeat to eventual National Champion Vanderbilt. Stanford lacked pitching depth and now Marquess may have the pitching to make one last run at a title.
Mark Marquess is the true definition of a "Stanford Man". He went to school here, he played sports here, and then he came back to coach and do it well here. He recruits the top student-athletes in the country and has found a way to do it successfully for almost 40 years. While in recent years David Shaw and Johnny Dawkins have found success while overcoming recruiting challenges, Marquess has found even greater success while overcoming recruiting challenges for almost four decades. He will be the greatest baseball coach in the history of the program (regardless of what happens in 2015) but it would be nice to see number 9 add to his already impressive legacy.