MARION — Invested? They don’t come any more invested than Pete Messerli.
He is Marion High School, through and through.
The 35-year-old played multiple sports for the Indians, has been a coach at multiple levels in multiple sports for them. He’s a legacy, as his father, Dave, was a teacher and coach at the school for years.
If caring about every single thing red and gold means anything, officially naming him the new head boys’ basketball coach Monday, as the school did, was a home-run hire.
“It’s special because I played in the program, I grew up watching teams,” Messerli said Monday night. “It has always been important to me because it’s all I’ve ever known ... I’ve always had a passion for Marion athletics. To have this be my first head coaching job in any sport, and for it to be a program that I’ve seen for the last 20 years or so, one way or another, is just special.”
Messerli replaces Mike Manderscheid, who stepped down last month after 11 years as head coach. Manderscheid led Marion to four state tournaments.
A 2002 Marion graduate and 2006 Mount Mercy University grad, Messerli was freshman coach for four years under Manderscheid and has spent the past seven seasons as an assistant for Corby Laube in the girls’ program. He got his start as a teacher and coach at North Linn.
Throw North Linn’s Mike Hilmer in there, and Messerli has had some tremendous mentors. He doesn’t think switching back to the boys’ side will be a big deal, as he is a business teacher at Marion and familiar with the players.
“I think that’s advantageous to me that I know the kids,” he said. “Whether I’ve had them in class or just talked to them in the hallway. Seen them every day there, maybe coached them in football. I do know the kids, have some background on them, some type of base relationship with them. That will help quite a bit moving forward, that at least I’m not a new face to them and they are not new faces to me.”
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