March 30, 2017
NORTH HAMPTON — Henry Marsh was sitting at his table at the annual National Collegiate Wrestling Association Championships Hall of Fame induction ceremony earlier this month at the Allen Event Center just 30 minutes north of Dallas.
All the longtime head coach of the University of New Hampshire club wrestling program knew was that he was there with four wrestlers from UNH that qualified for the national tournament.
The ceremony was coming to a close when an RPI wrestler, sitting next to Marsh, said “Coach, you’re on the (videoboard).”
Seconds later Marsh’s name was called as the latest inductee to the prestigious NCWA Hall of Honor for his outstanding contributions and dedication to the sport of collegiate wrestling as an official, a leader, and a coach.
“It was quite an honor to be selected for the Hall of Honor, it takes your breath away,” said Marsh, a North Hampton resident said. “Awards are awards. I don’t get too pumped up about it but I am 73 years old, and this is quite an honor for me. It’s a culmination of the all the things you have done, and being rewarded nationally, it’s a pretty big recognition; not many people know about the sport of wrestling and to be recognized by that group is special.”
Marsh, who was inducted into the USA Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1985, said the last person who was inducted into the Hall of Honor was 10 years ago.
Marsh said the Hall of Honor achievement trumps his election to the USA Wrestling Hall of Fame.
“This one here, this is a lifetime award where the other one has a lot of people in it,” he said, “and there very few in the Hall of Honor, there’s probably not more than five. There is no better award I could get.”
Marsh began his wrestling career at Winnacunnet High School because “it was something to do after high school, it was a place to be.”
He went 35-0 in his career at Winnacunnet and was a two-time New England champion. He then wrestled for Appalachian State and went 47-1-1, his lone loss coming in his first college match.
He later became the United States Wrestling Federation national champion and was a 1968 Olympic Trials finalist
“As far as my success, I had really strong mentors,” Marsh said. “I looked to my coaches as leaders, and I was lucky to have the leaders I had. They were good, honest people who did not cut corners, which is a good way in life to live.”
Marsh spent four decades as a college official, calling more than 50 NCAA regional matches.
Marsh then went on to coach one year at Exeter High School and also at UMass-Lowell before becoming the head coach at UNH.
“I never wanted to be a coach, had no desire,” Marsh said. “I enjoyed being an official the most. You walk in, do your job, and when you are leaving you know you did a good job when neither coach is screaming at you; just do you your job, do it right, and you’re going to be asked back.”