Penn Yan Academy Hall of Fame: Larry Marchionda and Jack Marshall

Gary Pinneo
Larry Marchionda

The Penn Yan Academy Athletic Hall of Fame will induct five more honored members in ceremonies during the 2014 Penn Yan Academy Homecoming Weekend Sept. 12. The 2014 class includes the championship football teams of 1948 and 1982. Two outstanding PYA athletes, Larry Marchionda and Brice Queener, and a legendary high school coach and teacher, Jack Marshall. We had the pleasure of spotlighting the 1948 championship team a couple of weeks ago, and we will talk about the amazing 1982 team and the talented Brice Queener next week. This week we are going to look back five decades to the 1960’s and highlight Larry Marchionda and Mr. Jack Marshall.

The 1960’s was a fascinating decade in our nation’s history as any yammering “Baby Boomer” will tell you. It started out with youngsters with hula hoops, twisting and shouting at sock hops, and ended with love beads and flowers in your hair. Penn Yan, like the rest of the nation, went through a major transition during those 10 years. But like any other time, sports were a huge part of high school life. The 1960’s was a very successful time for the Mustang athletic teams. The decade produced championship winning Mustang teams in every sport, and featured some of the best athletes and coaches in the school’s long athletic history.

Larry Marchionda and Jack Marshall were two notable figures from this time. One was an outstanding athlete, and the other a legendary coach. But their success was attained the same way with the same basic credo: hard work, dedication, and of course, discipline will guide you to success.

Larry Marchionda PYA Class Of 1960 Wrestling

Penn Yan Academy added wrestling to its interscholastic mix during the late 1940’s. Penn Yan Wrestling experienced moderate success in the early years, but was not considered a high profile sport during those initial years. In 1956 that changed dramatically. Larry Marchionda burst upon the scene. A small youngster weighing around 100 lbs. became a giant on the mats, succeeding in the ultimate one-on-one sport — wrestling. And suddenly, the PYA wrestling team captured the attention of the community. The Orange and Blue clad grapplers were the hits of the town, and large crowds gathered to watch their new sports heroes. Larry Marchionda, through hard work and dedication to the sport he loved, became a champion and helped make Penn Yan a wrestling powerhouse during that time.

Larry won several Wayne-Finger Lakes titles in his PYA wrestling career. He topped off his amazing high school mat career with a Section V title in 1960, and was voted one of the top wrestlers in New York State by the sportswriters. After his PYA career ended, he continued to excel in his sport. Marchionda had a tremendous career in college, winning many honors, but it didn’t stop there. After college, he went on to become a highly successful and winning high school and collegiate wrestling coach in Wisconsin, positively impacting and training hundreds of young athletes.

His efforts have won him scores of honors and election to four Sport Halls of Fame in the State of Wisconsin. Marchionda also developed highly successful wrestling school and a company that develops and sells protective equipment, especially head gear for young wrestlers. All that comes from our rich Penn Yan sports heritage. He is a true son of Penn Yan., and now he will take his rightful place in Penn Yan Academy’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

Jack Marshall Teacher, football and baseball coach

Jack Marshall came to Penn Yan to teach in the fall of 1954. He had been a successful coach in Kentucky and Ohio after graduating from Notre Dame in 1948. At PYA, he taught physical education and took on the challenge of coaching football and baseball. In a few short years, Jack Marshall turned the Mustang gridiron and diamond programs into championship powerhouses, winning football championship in 1966 and 1967, and six Wayne-Finger Lakes crowns in baseball. During that time, Mr. Marshall developed and coached a long line of fine athletes in Penn Yan. He was a master at preparing his teams to play a game and getting the best out of his players.

He was well respected in the area’s coaching circles and considered a “Dean of Coaches” in the Wayne-Finger Lakes League. Mr. Marshall truly believed that hard work and discipline was the key to success and his players bought into his theory. He loved and respected the players he coached and truly wanted them to succeed and play to the best of their abilities. His former players returned his love and admiration. To many, he was as much a father figure as a coach. He retired from coaching after the 1969 season, but his legend at PYA lives on.

Jack Marshall was the first to used the term “Mustang Pride” and he truly meant it. His impact went well beyond the successful teams he coached. He developed the Varsity Club program at the school, and produced the highly memorable “Sports Night” program held every February. Many still talk about the stunning blue-toned pyramid programs depicting historic scenes at the end of each sports night program. Setting goals and working hard for them was Mr. Marshall’s credo. The Mustang Jacket was a fine example of that. It wasn’t something just given you, you had to work hard for it. But when you earned your points to get the jacket, Jack Marshall would sign the paper and be the first to congratulate you.

I had the pleasure of playing for Jack Marshall in the late 1960’s. He always worked you hard, and you respected the man as a coach. And yes, there were times you even feared him. He was well known for his ideas of discipline. How does 20 laps after practice sound? But I, fortunately, got to know the man a little better later on in life and understood him even better. He always wanted to make you a better athlete for sure. More importantly, he wanted to prepare you for the bigger game of life after your athletic career was over. He was a true mentor.

I remember riding to a Section V championship baseball game in Geneseo in 1969. During the bus ride up to the game, Mr. Marshall was talking about his playing days at Notre Dame. During those days at Notre Dame, there were 70 players on the football team, but there were only 60 uniforms. Every week, a player had to go out and prove himself again and work hard for one of those 60 uniforms. I didn’t realize it at the time, but Coach Marshall was giving us the ultimate life message. The world we were going out to face was full of players, but much fewer opportunities. You always have to work hard to achieve your goals and continuously prove yourself. This was the Jack Marshall message.

Jack Marshall was a tremendous coach and teacher, but much more importantly, he was a wonderful and thoughtful man and a Penn Yan Academy legend. And now he is a honored member of the Penn Yan Academy Athletic Hall of Fame.