Local official selected to ref girls’ final four at Breslin

EAST LANSING – There’s not many stages Wayne Marshall hasn’t refereed on and this weekend he’ll add one more to his resume as he has been tabbed to officiate the Class B girls semifinal game at the Breslin Center.

Marshall has been wearing the stripes for the last 38 years. In that time, the Gladstone native has refereed everything from city league ball to NMU and Michigan Tech games. Marshall refereed the 1989 Boys Class D state final game at the Crisler Center and since that time has strived to work a girls semifinal and state final game.

Marshall plans to hang up his whistle in Michigan after next season and made his plans known to the Upper Peninsula Athletic Committee.

“I’ve told some of the people on the committee, talked to them about retiring from officiated tournaments in the state and if they could possibly get me to make the cycle complete and work a semi and state finals in girls basketball before I retired,” Marshall said. “I guess they thought I was worthy of that, so that’s where they’re putting me.”

Marshall officiated the Girls Class D quarterfinal in Sault Ste. Marie Tuesday night. It was his second straight year officiating a quarterfinal game, which he noted is part of the process in making an appearance at the state semifinals.

“If you’re working a girls game, they’ll put you in to work a Class C or a Class D girls regional final and then the next year you’ll get a quarterfinal depending on where it is, and then you’ll do three quarterfinals in a row en-route to working a state final,” he said.

Marshall’s career started as a student at NMU, where he worked intramural games to help pay his way through school. As a student-teacher in Iron Mountain, he officiated city league games before registering with the MHSAA.

Marshall reflected on many highlights of his career including a last second 3-pointer that pushed Negaunee past Westwood in the boys Class C district final in 2000. The Miners went on to win the state championship that season. He also noted packed games at Carney-Nadeau, when it’s gym was still a tile floor. Marshall refereed games at both Perkins and Rock, prior to Mid Peninsula forming. Marshall also noted officiating in Trenary, prior to their consolidation with Eben.

“In Trenary, the jump circle and the free throw circles all went together,” he said. “You could take the ball out of bounds and shoot from halfcourt because halfcourt was only like a 25-footer.”

“That’s one of the things I try to tell young officials, keep a log of every game you work. Put down where you went, what the score was and then something funny that happened during the game, on the way to the game, or coming home from the game.”

Wayne’s daughter Lauren Marshall, who is a member of the 1,000 point club at Rapid River, has joined the officiating ranks with her father this season. The pair have worked numerous games together during the regular season.

“I’ve enjoyed that,” he said. “It’s been a great experience for me and I hope it’s been a good experience for her.”

After next season, Marshall and his wife plan to spend three months of the year in Florida. Though he plans to ref in Florida, Marshall noted he will miss the interactions with people he’s met during his career.

“One of the things I’ll miss when I decide to retire is a lot of the coaches and the athletic directors that you met, and friends that you meet from the stands,” Marshall said.