Mark Marquess, the singular figure who epitomizes and defines the Stanford baseball program, announced on Monday that the 2017 season will be his last as Stanford's head baseball coach.
Marquess has coached the Cardinal since 1977, and it's impossible to overstate his place in Stanford's baseball history. Marquess guided Stanford to back-to-back national championships in 1987 and 1988, 12 Pac-10 regular-season championships, and to the final of the College World Series on three other occasions. Marquess is a three-time NCAA coach of the year and nine-time Pac-10 coach of the year. Marquess' 1,585 wins place him 4th all-time on the college baseball wins list.
"I have been blessed to have such a long and fulfilling association with Stanford University, a university that I deeply love," Marquess said in a statement. "It's time for the University to implement a succession plan for our program and the 2017 season will be my last as head coach, but my time at Stanford has been beyond special and I will leave with incredible memories of our program and what we have accomplished."
Quite simply, Stanford baseball as we know it today is almost solely Marquess' work in action. From the talent he's recruited to the Farm, to the postseason success and to the way the Cardinal play the game on the field (including the "Stanford swing" that professional scouts malign), his vision has defined what it means to play baseball at Sunken Diamond - and there has been some overwhelming successes during the last 40 years because of "9".
Stanford baseball hasn't had the same measure of success in the last few years - the Cardinal has only made the postseason once in the last 4 years - so perhaps that had some influence on his decision to walk away now. As for his eventual successor, pitching coach Rusty Filter seems like the obvious candidate to take over the program. Filter joined the program in 2010 after coaching under Tony Gwynn at San Diego State, and he's helped tutor Stephen Strasburg and Mark Appel as pitching prospects during his time as a coach.