Trish Marsh, associate head women’s basketball coach at Missouri State University, was selected as one of the 2010-11 recipients of the league’s Most Courageous Award. The MVC presents the Most Courageous Award to a past or present student-athlete, coach or university administrator who demonstrates unusual courage in the face of personal illness, adversity or tragedy and whose behavior reflects honor on the institution or the Conference. Individuals receiving the award might also have performed heroic feats or otherwise inspired others.
Marsh, who won a year-long battle with breast cancer, joined women’s soccer player Abby Guerra (car crash survivor) of Evansville, associate head men’s basketball coach Lance Irvin (leukemia survivor) of Southern Illinois, football player Gabe Mullane (testicular cancer survivor) of Indiana State and former basketball player Aaron Thomas (who displayed courage in the face of his father’s murder) of Drake as 2010-11 recipients. On Sunday, Marsh was presented with the at the women’s basketball game between Creighton and Missouri State at JQH Arena.
Marsh is in her fourth year as the Lady Bears’ associate head coach. Marsh made the move across town in April of 2007 after seven seasons as head coach Nyla Milleson’s top assistant at Drury. She also spent seven years on Milleson’s staff at Springfield (Mo.) Glendale High School prior to making the jump to DU in 1999.
On July 10, 2006, Marsh received word that she had stage three cancer in her right breast, and even more disturbing, that the cancer had already reached five lymph nodes.
Three days after being diagnosed, she underwent a nearly eight-hour operation called a lumpectomy, where only a small portion of the breast is removed and the tumor is pinpointed. Six days later, she had another procedure to clear out remaining cancer cells.
Since she opted for a lumpectomy, her therapy required chemotherapy followed by radiation treatments, which stretched over seven weeks by the time they were completed.
“The amount of courage she displayed day in and day out was nothing less than remarkable,” said Coach Milleson about Marsh during that fateful 2006-07 academic year that saw Drury go 25-9 and reach the Elite Eight of the NCAA Division II Tournament. “It might be the toughest day ever, but she would be in her office or in the gym … she also knew our team needed her. It was the most powerful set of emotions and team unity that I have seen in my 25 years of coaching.”
In the spring of 2007, Missouri State University hired Trish as part of Milleson’s coaching staff, just a few months prior to her one-year medical scans. In July 2007, she received words that her scans were clear and she was cancer free.
A native of Marshfield, Mo., the former Trish Van Diggelen was the Lady Jays’ basketball most valuable player in 1987 and 1988. As a senior in 1988, Marsh helped lead Marshfield High to a perfect 32-0 mark and Class 3A state title. Marshfield’s undefeated season kicked off a winning streak that would ultimately stretch over three seasons.
Marsh went on to a standout four-year basketball career at Missouri University of Science and Technology (formerly University of Missouri-Rolla), where she broke virtually every three-point shooting record in school history and led the nation in Division II three-point percentage as a freshman. She remains the Miners’ sixth all-time leading scorer with 1,125 points.
Marsh and her husband, Marty, have two children, Mitchell and Madison.
Story courtesy of Missouri State Athletics.