Marsh to Sign "Career Contract" to Stay at Auburn

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn's most successful coach and Auburn University officials have agreed to a new long-term contract that is expected to keep David Marsh at AU as the coach of the Tigers for the rest of his career.

Also, the coach's desire to get an outdoor pool for Auburn's program has been put on the fast track, with the project expected to get started this fall.

Marsh, who has led Auburn teams to eight NCAA Championships including three consecutive men's titles, will be signing an eight-year contract to continue to coach the men's and women's teams at AU.

"Jay and I have had several conversations and I have become more and more optimistic that we share a vision of what we would like to accomplish in the sport of swimming and diving," Marsh tells Inside the Auburn Tigers.

"I was very pleased with his desire to want to hear all of the challenges that we face," Marsh says. "They can't all be addressed immediately, but in time I think we are going to move in a very positive direction."

Marsh also says that a time-line has been established for the construction of an outdoor pool, something he told his team members on Thursday. "That was important so I can be more clear to recruits, and more importantly to our team. That was received with a rousing ovation by the team when I met with them today. I told them the construction on the pool is slated to begin sometime in the fall."

AU officials haven't decided exactly where the pool will be built. The two options are next to the current varsity tennis courts at the Luther Young Tennis Center, which is scheduled to be remodeled or replaced. The other option is to build the pool and a new tennis complex at the Wilbur Hutsell Track and Field site, which is being replaced by a new track that was supposed to be ready for use last spring, but now isn't projected to be completed until early this summer.

"We don't know yet where the pool will be," Marsh says. "The plan is, they are trying to figure out where tennis will be for the future. Wherever they go, we will go."

There is a good probability that the tennis teams and swimming teams will share a building with offices, locker rooms, restrooms and storage.

Marsh has been courted by a variety of college teams, but prior to this year the only one he seriously considered was a very lucrative offer to leave for the University of Florida. However, he visited Stanford last week to talk to officials at that university, which traditionally has the top all-around athletic department in the country.

The West Coast swimming power is expected to have a vacancy as it looks to replace long-time women's swimming retiring coach Richard Quick, a former U.S. Olympic coach who was Marsh's college coach at Auburn. Marsh got his start in coaching as a club coach in Auburn under Quick's direction.

Marsh (front, left) watches his Tigers in a relay race on the way to their fifth NCAA men's title last month in Minneapolis. In addition to three straight NCAA titles, the AU men have won nine consecutive SEC Championships.

Athletic director Jacobs says that associate athletic director for Olympic sports, Meredith Jenkins, and university attorney Lee Armstrong, were instrumental in working out the long-term agreement to keep Marsh aboard at Auburn. Jacobs, Marsh, Jenkins and Armstong, plus attorney Nancy Davis, met for 3 1/2 hours on Tuesday at Jacobs' office after Marsh spent 1 1/2 hours with the athletic director for what Jacobs and Marsh say was a very productive discussion prior to meeting with the others.

"When you have a guy like David Marsh, an Auburn guy with all of the things he has done with all the national championships, I am probably more excited than he is that he will stay here with us," Jacobs says. "In addition to what he has done to enrich the lives of our student-athletes, the community, his church, the athletics department and Auburn University, you have got to have a guy like him. It just wouldn't be right for him to be anywhere but here.

"We are going to do a career contract," Jacobs adds. "It was not a tough thing at all. In fact, it was relatively easy. He and I are on the same page. I am going to do everything I can to help him continue win championships and graduate 100 percent of his athletes. I am excited about it. He is a class guy."


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