Utes make it official: co-head coach

Published: Friday, July 24 2009 12:00 a.m. MDT

Exactly a quarter century ago, Megan Marsden started helping her husband, Greg, coach Utah's gymnastics team a year into their marriage.

From the beginning, Greg Marsden, who's guided the Utes to 10 national championships in 34 years with the program, viewed his working relationship with Megan as a partnership. And as Megan took on more and more responsibility over the past 10 years to help Utah remain competitive in the national landscape, Greg believed more and more that his wife should be named as his co-head coach.

Accordingly, he began to petition Ute athletic director Chris Hill for that to happen a few years ago, and after mulling it over for a while, Hill agreed to make Megan the co-head coach of Utah gymnastics, a move that the University of Utah announced Thursday morning.

"For her, it's something that she deserves — to have the title to go along with what she's doing," said Greg, 58. "I appreciate Dr. Hill's willingness to think outside the box a little bit. I know what took a little while is that he's not real comfortable with this idea of co-coaches. So I appreciate his willingness to go outside his comfort zone a little bit and give her the title that I think she more than deserves to have." While Greg said he believes he's had a partnership with Megan since they starting working together 25 years ago, Megan said it took her time initially to learn the ropes from her husband

Over time, however,Megan said she believes it truly has grown into a partnership, with each person assuming an individual set of responsibilities, particularly in the last decade.

"I think some of our strengths and weaknesses balance each other nicely," said Megan, 47. "That's part of why we've divided some things out the way that we have more in recent years, and it's also been a necessity on some levels." Aside from the fact that Megan will now report directly to Dr. Hill, both Greg and Megan said Thursday's announcement largely won't affect the way the program is run. But they quickly noted they were grateful that the University will be officially recognizing their working partnership

"I think it probably doesn't change a lot about the way we go about things, but I do appreciate that Chris Hill and the administration felt like I was deserving of that equal position," said Megan. "That feels good that they define Greg and I as a team."

Thursday's announcement prompted obvious thought about whether it was a step toward Megan, who's 47-years-old, eventually replacing Greg, who's 58-years-old, but the hugely successful coach said he has no plans to retire.

"That's really off in the distance," he said. "That has nothing to do with why we're doing this. We're doing this right now only because I've been talking to Dr. Hill about it for a few years and this is the time that he became comfortable with it.

"Obviously," added Greg, "there's gonna be a day sometime down the road when I'm gonna be done, but I love what I'm doing. I've got a boy who's gonna be a senior at East this year, and he's going to the U. the following year. He's already talked to (Ute basketball coach) Jim Boylen and he's gonna be a manager for the basketball team, and he's excited about that. (But) he's not gonna have a scholarship, so I need to work to pay his way to college.

"I don't really see the end in sight right now."

e-mail: drasmussen@desnews.com

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