The Toombs County Bulldogs seventh head football coach has been a state champion linebacker, a state champion assistant coach and a head coach at two different Florida High Schools and one high school in Georgia. He has also been a college defensive coordinator and an assistant at Georgia’s most legendary high school program. He is a defensive guy who emphasizes speed and strength and this will be the third time he has been the head coach of a team nicknamed Bulldogs.
Meet Richie Marsh, Toombs County High School’s head coach. Marsh has a 110-87 (55.8 %) record in his 17 years as a head coach in Florida and Georgia.
Marsh was approved by unanimous vote, on December 22, 2015, by the Toombs County Board of Education.
Marsh came to Toombs County from Lakeland, Florida where he was the defensive coordinator, for two seasons, at Southeastern University. The NAIA school started playing the sport in 2014 and went 7-3. Marsh’s defense was the second best in the Sun Conference allowing 21.3 points per game In 2015 the Fire went 6-2 yielding 22.6 points per game and opponents converted 29.6% of the time on third down situations.
In his first season (2016) at Toombs County Marsh led the Bulldogs to a 6-5 record and their first trip to the GHSA State Playoffs since 2008. In 2017 a veteran group of Bulldogs improved to 10-2. They beat their rival Vidalia for the first time since 2008. TCHS ruled at Buck Cravey Field 26-7. The Dawgs also won their first playoff game defeating Fitzgerald 34-31 in the Pit.
Coach Marsh is off to the 2nd best start in Bulldog history
Through 30 games, as head coach of the Toombs County Bulldogs, coach Richie Marsh is off to the second best start in Lyons Senior and Toombs County High School history. Marsh is 21-9 after a 6-5 debut in 2016, a 10-2 record in 2017 and the 5-2 start this season. Only Tom Avret had a better record though 30 games. He went 22-8. In 1965 Lyons had a 7-3 season followed by an 8-4 record in 1966 and a 7-1 start in 1967. Jacky Jones went 20-9-1 in his first 30- 8-2 in 1969, 8-3 in 1970 and 4-4-1 in 1971.
From 2005-2012 Marsh coached the Thomasville Bulldogs. In his eight seasons he was 53-40. He had five winning seasons and three losing seasons. He led his team to the AA GHSA State Playoffs seven times making the Elite 8 twice and the second round two times.
Marsh’s Thomasville Bulldogs never played the Toombs County Bulldogs. However, there was a near miss. In 2007, Thomasville went 10-3 and lost in the quarterfinals, at home, to Lovett 20-16. In the second round those Bulldogs beat Savannnah Christian 20-14 at home. Of course, Savannah Christian advanced to the second round with a come from behind 35-18 win over Toombs County. The Dawgs had an 18-0 lead in the opening half, at Garden City, in Mark Stroud’s last game coaching at TCHS. Thomasville shutout four opponents in 2007- Berrien, Cook County, Early County and Laney.
Thomasville also advanced to the Elite 8 in 2010 with an 9-4 record. The Bulldogs lost three close regular season games- to rival Thomas County Central 20-17, in overtime to Fitzgerald 28-21 and on the road at Cook County 15-9. In the playoffs Thomasville played three straight road games. The Bulldogs beat Jefferson 27-14 and Tattnall County 24-21 before losing 40-14 at Carver-Columbus.
2005 5-6 lost in first round at Fitzgerald 28-0
2006 5-6 lost in first round at Dodge County 20-13
2007 10-3 lost in the third round at home to Lovett 20-16
2008 7-5 lost in the second round at Dublin 21-14
2009 8-4 lost in the second round at Jefferson in overtime 24-17
2010 9-4 lost in the third round at Carver-Columbus 40-14
2011 6-5 lost in the first round at Appling County 28-18
2012 3-7 did not make the playoffs
In 2003 Marsh was hired by Valdosta High School coach Rick Darlington to work with the defense and to lead the weight lifting program. The Wildcats went 11-4 and lost to Camden County 21-7 in the 5A State Championship Game in Valdosta. The Wildcats went 8-5 in 2004 and lost at Walton 17-14 in the quarterfinals.
Marsh was the head coach at Bartow High School, his alma mater, from 1999 to 2002. In his four seasons he went 20-25 and made the playoffs three times. He played on the 1985 Yellow Jackets state championship team.
Marsh entered the coaching profession as an assistant at Frostproof Middle-High School in Florida- a town in Central Florida which is about the same size as Lyons. As an assistant he helped the Bulldogs win a state championship with a perfect 12-0 record in 1992.
In 1993 Marsh was picked to replace the legendary Faris Brannen (175-78-2) as Frostproof’s head coach. In his first season he coached the Bulldogs to a 5-5 record and then he made the playoffs his last four seasons.
1994 7-5 District Champions
1995 8-3 (Rotary Bowl win versus St.Cloud)
1996 12-2 District Champions, Regional Champions and State Runner-Up. Future Tennessee Vol and NFL running back Travis Henry ran for 4,087 yards and scored 42 touchdowns that season. He was Mr.Florida Football and a Parade All-American.
1997 5-7 District Runner-Up
Marsh is ranked 20th among all coaches who have coached in Polk County, Florida with a 66-50 record at Frostproof and Bartow.
Coach Marsh, who played college football at Ferrum, is married to Jennifer and has five children.