Mickey Marley was considered the Dean of West Tennessee coaches as he led University School of Jackson for the last 28 years which is the third longest tenure in the state of Tennessee and the longest in West Tennessee.
But Friday afternoon Marley was told that USJ was going in a different direction and was given a choice of retiring, resigning or being fired. Marley didn’t like the first two options and was fired as head football coach at USJ. Marley has been offered a job to stay on as a teacher at the school.
“They told me it was about wins and losses or that I had done anything wrong,” Marley said. “I can’t say a bad word about USJ because it was good for me and I was really good for them, but sometimes coaching is a rough business.”
Marley complied a 245-91 overall record at USJ and took the Bruins to five state title games (1993, 1998 and 2000 in 1A, 2009 and 2011 in Division II-A). The one knock on Marley was he was 0-5 in those title games but the good natured coach referred to himself as “the Marv Levy of high school coaches.”
“I wish to thank Coach Marley for his commitment to the USJ football program over the past 28 years,” USJ Headmaster Stuart Hirstein said in a press release. “At this time, a decision has been made to go in a different direction with the football program. Ultimately, we felt this decision was in the best interest of our football program and a change in vision and philosophy was needed. This decision was difficult because of the man Coach Marley is and what he has meant to USJ.”
Before taking the head job in 1989, the Bruin football program had made only two playoff appearances (1987 and 1988) but Marley transformed the program and made it one of the top ones in West Tennessee if not the state. USJ made 23 playoff appearances under Marley and he was 42-26 in the playoffs and the Bruins had 14 seasons of 10 plus win seasons (1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.)
The Bruins was 9-4 this season and made the Division II-A semifinals in which could have been his best coaching job of his lengthy career. USJ had several injuries to key players but they responded by upsetting defending champion Knoxville Webb 7-6 and at the time undefeated FRA in the quarterfinal round before losing to Northpoint Christian in the semifinals.
Before taking the USJ job, Marley was an assistant coach at UT-Martin for five years and coached current New York Giants General Manager Jerry Reese.
There are 16 schools that are currently looking for a head coach they are: USJ, Centennial, Father Ryan, Manassas, Sunbright, Sullivan Central, Bartlett, McNairy Central, Greenbrier, West Creek, Cherokee, Riverside, White County, Westwood, Memphis Overton and Giles County.
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