Dan Marsh takes over Abington boys basketball program

When Dan Marsh became the Abington girls basketball head coach in 2005, there was a lot of work to be done. He rebuilt from the ground up and turned the Ghosts into a premiere program during his 18-year tenure.

Now, Marsh is taking over a boys basketball program at Abington that’s already established as one of the best in southeastern Pa. He was hired as head coach Thursday June 22.

“It’s a bit nerve-racking,” Marsh said, “but I think it’s part of the draw for me. As a competitor, as a coach, people are going to say, ‘He’s a girls coach, he can’t do this.’ I’m motivated by naysayers or people who don’t believe. I really do want to come in and keep it where it is or make it better, if that’s possible, and really get after it. It’s definitely a higher-pressure, higher-visibility job, for sure and I’m looking forward to that part of the challenge.

“I do think that my style and the way that I coach, it fits young men. When this came about I started thinking about it – the way that I play and I’ve watched them and I thought that I might fit. This is something exciting and can bring new life to my life and to hopefully help the program continue to be great.”

Marsh, who spent a couple years as Temple University’s team manager under John Chaney and coached the girls team at Akiba Hebrew Academy for five years before coming to Abington, recorded his 450th career win last season. He led the Ghosts to two District 1 championships in 2010 and 2017 and closed out his tenure with a 25-7 season that reached the PIAA-6A state quarterfinals in 2022-23.

Marsh pointed to the 2010 District 1 championship win over Cheltenham and legendary head coach Bob Schaefer at Villanova as one of his favorite moments from his time with the Abington girls. He also enjoyed the battles with Upper Dublin under coach Morgan Funsten and Plymouth Whitemarsh under coach Dan Dougherty.

“I’m very proud of everybody that contributed to (those 18 years),” Marsh said. “I think that we found our way and we were able to compete every year.

“It was just an amazing 18 years – all the kids that went through there and the Division I athletes that we produced. Off the court, one of my philosophies is to make sure that everyone has a quality basketball experience and go on to leave the program better than it was. I think for the most part we did that. That makes me very proud. It was a very bittersweet moment. I think (former Abington boys head coach) Charles (Grasty) feels the same way – a program that you built, you’ve just got to hand it over to somebody else and now I’m going to be in that position. It’s going to be tough, but I’m very excited to coach this new team.”

Grasty became the school’s athletic director last month after 13 years as the boys basketball head coach. He led the program to more than 250 wins and District 1 championships in 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Marsh inherits a senior-heavy group, led by returning first team All-Suburban One League Liberty Division selection Jeremiah Lee.

“They work very hard and I think they like what’s happening so far,” Marsh said after a couple open gym sessions. “We’re going to increase the tempo and do things that we did on the girls side – pressure a little more and do all those things.

“As far as basketball players, they all have a pretty clean slate. I think my biggest challenge is going to be keeping everybody happy. We have 10 seniors that are returning players and there’s also some young players who can really play – like Xander Grasty as a freshman is really good – and there’s a couple juniors that are really good, too. My biggest challenge is going to be getting everybody to accept their role and get after it.”

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