A quick glance around his office and his career speaks for itself: Bob Marlin wins. Whether it’s from the National Junior Collegiate hall of fame plaque, or the Viewpointspaper clipping that bares “Kats Win,” nothing in his office suggests losing is an option.
Born in Tupelo, Mississippi, Marlin fell in love with the game of basketball. Coming from a state that has produced such basketball greats as Monte Ellis and Chris Jackson, the game came natural to the young basketball enthusiast.
As a child, Marlin went to a high-school game and was fascinated watching the team run the court and shoot perfect baskets–he was instantly hooked.
He quickly convinced his parents to join a local recreational team.
“I was so in love with the game,” Marlin said. “But I was probably a born coach. I was never much of a player.”
Coaching was never in his mind though; it was always the game. Marlin ate, breathed, and slept the game of basketball.
However, it wasn’t until his eighth-grade year that his basketball coach sparked an interest in Marlin to someday coach his own team.
Marlin played sparingly in his junior high and high school career. He was never the best player, but his dreams of basketball never ceased.
After a good senior year of playing hoops, Marlin was offered several spots playing on the junior college level, but the interest wasn’t there. Instead, he followed his brother to Mississippi State to become a business major.
It didn’t take long Marlin long to discover business wasn’t his passion. His dream of coaching soon resurfaced. It took him less than a year to decide to become a coach.
“I called my old high school football coach and he said it was a terrible idea because the money was bad,” Marlin said. “My old baseball coach said the same. But then I called my mom and she said to do whatever made me happy.”
That’s when his future changed. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education at Mississippi State and became a graduate assistant.
Coaching hasn’t stopped ever since.
Marlin accepted a job at Pensacola Junior College where he set precedence – he won, and won often. Not only did he win the 1993 NJCAA National Championship and voted Coach of the Year, but also to date, he has more wins than any coach ever at PJC.
“He is one of my best buddies,” said Bill Hamilton, Athletic Director for PJC. “One thing about Bob though, he always got the most out of the kids, and is a great recruiter.”
After his stint at Pensacola, Marlin was offered a job at Alabama as an assistant coach – a spot he had no problem accepting. It wasn’t until 1998 that he took the job at Sam Houston.
Inheriting a job where SHSU had never finished higher than sixth place in the conference, Marlin would be coaching a losing team for the first time.
His first season, the team suffered a miserable 10-16 record, finishing in ninth place.
However, the next season the basketball team turned around and blasted the league with a 22-7 season, winning the Southland Conference for the first time in school history.
In his eleven years at Sam Houston, Marlin has built a record of 191 wins and 118 losses which have made him the most successful coach at Sam Houston University. And he is currently on a roll of three consecutive 20-win seasons.
As for his expected future, Marlin only offered this: “When I first got here, they told me the longer I stay, the harder it will be for me to leave, and they were right.”