Story by Eli Ruiz
MONTICELLO Monticello varsity baseball coach Mike Marra has accepted the head coaching position at Division I Georgia Highlands College. He has submitted his resignation as a Monticello physical education teacher effective September 28. Marra will be starting up the Georgia Highlands program which has never fielded a baseball team in its 44-year history.
In an interview with The Democrat last week, Marra said, “Basically the whole situation with me is that I have a new job at Georgia Highlands College. I have a press conference down there [in Georgia] next Thursday afternoon and I can’t tell you how excited I really am for this new opportunity.”
Marra will be flying down to Georgia Highlands tomorrow and will be returning Saturday. “I’ve already started recruiting...I’m doing it from up here in New York for now,” said a noticeably pleased Marra, who added, “I’m gonna miss those kids [the Monticello players] to death but I’m glad I’m leaving there [Monticello High School].
“No one coaching there is happy. I want to keep this about my new position but going down the road, there are a lot of issues going down with the Monticello athetic department.
Monticello athletic director Doug Murphy said he was sad to see Marra leaving and wished him well. On Marra’s comments about the athletic program, he said: "I mean you were here for the soccer tournament and you saw what a success that was...I mean did you see that anyone was unhappy."
Marra was at the center of controversy last season when he was temporarily suspended from his post as head baseball coach at Monticello High following a spring break trip he and his team took to Vero Beach, Fla. During the trip one of Marra’s players suffered an apparent foot injury but it was determined by the coaches that visiting a hospital would be unnecessary. They elected to sideline the player the rest of the week and simply rest the foot.
A parent chaperone decided to take the player to an urgent-care center in Florida. According to someone familar with the situation, the doctor who saw the player never gave any documentation indicating that he couldn’t play. However, when the player returned from the trip and resumed participation without proper medical clearance, Marra was suspended by the administration.
Things got worse when at a May 8 school board meeting it was decided to extend Marra’s suspension to cover the entire season.
Sources say the suspension was levied due to the player not being checked out and given a clearance note prior to his return.
“Question is, since there was no note keeping him [the player in question] off the field given by the Florida doctor, why would he need clearance... he was never not cleared to play?,” asked the source who requested anonymity.
To which Monticello athletic director Doug Murphy responds: "You're going to have to address that question to the School Superintendent [Daniel Teplesky]." Attempts to reach Teplesky have been unsuccessful.