kenneth_marshall.jpgMIAMI GARDENS — Florida Memorial University’s (FMU) Women’s Basketball Head Coach Kenneth Marshall has been selected by his peers as The Sun Conference nominee for the 2012-2013 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Coach of Character Award.

Marshall was nominated by one of his colleagues and will represent the conference in the national award competition.

“We subscribe to a belief that our pupils are students first and athletes second,” said Marshall, whose coaching tenure spans more than three decades at the institution. “I was absolutely surprised to be selected for this distinct honor.”

Marshall started his 35-year FMU coaching career during the 1978-1979 women’s basketball campaign. He assumed head coach duties after taking over a team that was winless at that point. Within two seasons, the Lady Lions placed second in the conference title games.

He accumulated 471 victories, the fourth-most among active NAIA Division II coaches, and led his teams to three conference titles, the most recent victory coming during the 2011 campaign. Robert Smith, FMU athletic director, said he was not surprised by the coach’s nomination.

“Coach Marshall has demonstrated a strong desire to work with, teach and mold young athletes to become productive citizens of our community,” Smith said. “There have been hundreds of graduates from his teams that have gone on to complete graduate school or pursue professional careers in medicine, law enforcement and education.”

Marshall graduated from Fort Valley State University in 1974 with a degree in  Physical Education. After graduation he served as a firefighter with the Miami-Dade County Fire Department. After 28 years of service he retired at the rank of lieutenant. He and his wife Helen have six children.

According to Latara King, a current assistant coach and one of his former players, Marshall has more children than that. “He has been a coach, mentor, confidant and truly a father figure,” added King, who nominated her mentor for the award. “He is a man of integrity and character both on and off the court. His coaching techniques help you understand the game and also prepare you for a successful life after college.”

mong other criteria, the NAIA Coach of Character must be a five-year institution employee and personify the five core values of the NAIA Champions of Character initiative (respect, integrity, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership). Marshall will compete with other nominated conference coaches for the national award.