COLUMBIA — St. Charles Vikings head coach Keith Marcks has three full-time jobs.
He embraces coaching, working and fatherhood because for him it is simply just a way of life.
Marcks coaches a seventh-grade boys basketball team that competed at the Show-Me State Games on Saturday. The Show-Me State Games continue today from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the MU Student Recreation Complex.
However, to many of these seventh grade boys, Marcks is more than just a coach. He is a role model. Not only does he voluntarily coach the team, but also holds a full time job as a sales representative in St. Louis and is a father of a family of five children, two of which have been diagnosed with Autism.
Carlie Marcks, 8, and Quin Marcks, 6, are the youngest children in the Marcks family, and are the two that have been diagnosed with Autism.
“It’s a little challenging being away,” Marcks admits, “but having the older kids is such a blessing. They are so great with Carlie and Quin. It’s like having built-in therapists at home.”
Katie Marcks, 16, and Emily Marcks, 14 help their mother when Marcks is away with his team. Their son Evan Marcks, 13, is also a huge help, but not so much during the basketball tournaments as he is a participant on that seventh grade team.
This coming June will mark the 19th anniversary of the marriage between Keith Marcks and Cathie Marcks. Even through all of the challenges that they have faced, they are able to lean on each other for support and are able to stay strong.
“She (Cathie) is awesome,” Marcks said, “She is truly a saint.”
So what makes such a busy man want to volunteer to coach a basketball team full of 12- and 13-year-old boys?
“I love working with kids,” Marcks said, “and this (basketball) is something that I understand, so it is a way that I am able to work with kids.”
Marcks has been coaching basketball since 1990 and this is his third year as a head coach for the St. Charles Vikings. The team has been playing since September, and decided to compete in this weekend's games just for fun. Yet this year is a little different because his team moved up into the competitive Show-Me State Games league. The past two years, it has competed in the recreational league, when it placed second at last year's Show Me State Games.
“We knew that moving to the competitive league would be tough,” Marcks explained, “but hopefully we can pull out a win tonight.”
The Vikings have only lost five games this season, which brings their overall record to 28-5, even with the two losses that they encountered this weekend.
Although it takes a hardworking team to achieve a record like that, it is not all work for the seventh grade team.
“I like Coach Marcks,” 13 -year -old player Mitch Cybularz said, “He makes it fun.”
Not only does he make it fun for his team, but Marcks also strives to teach his players skills that they can use for life.
“What he has taught me is to stay strong,” 12-year-old Nick Perkins said, “to score no matter what and never give up.”
So what are coach Marcks’ hopes for the team?
“I hope that they see a little Christ in me, and I hope that I can be a good role model for them,” Marcks said. “I hope they see that their coach puts hope in a higher power, and that they see me as more that just a good coach.”