University of Washington fans had the opportunity to meet football coach Lee Marks at the Kitsap Golf & Country Club in Bremerton Aug. 11.
“Kalen DeBoer came to me and asked, ‘Hey Lee, would you be willing to come speak at this great nonprofit during your night off of training camp? I know you want to be with your family,’” Marks said. “Once he told me they invest in young people, I told him to say no more. I can’t tell you how excited I was to do this.”
Marks is heading into his 30th season as either a football player or coach, including his second season with the Huskies as the assistant head coach and running backs coach. Marks joined the coaching world because he loves to serve and empower youth. “I really want to build up and make sure everyone I touch, I can empower to be their best,” Marks said.
Marks believes his motivation and success as a coach are the exact reason why Kitsap Athletic Roundtable has successfully supported youth sports in the county. “When you look at your mission, you are serving the youth and supporting our future leaders,” Marks said. “This organization has been around for 56 years, and that’s awesome. It’s a big deal to serve.”
Marks believes the roundtable is needed now more than ever. He extended his gratitude for local support of amateur athletics. “Thank you to everyone in Kitsap who pours in their effort and money, especially nowadays,” Marks said. “We see everything going in the world, and it’s all negative. There was a period of time around COVID when I got off social media. I can’t be a part of this because I was raised to do better and respect people and work hard.”
Marks dove deeper into how the organization and UW support their athletes. The similarities come from protection, discipline, toughness, workhorse mentality and preparation. “Protect the brand and protect your family,” Marks said. “Also, find a way to send those kids to the track meet across the country, get a scholarship, develop them and get them every opportunity so they can be successful in life. Lastly, we need to attack the day and make those young men better.”
Besides helping Kitsap youth, Marks added that every Husky fan in the county has helped his athletes push themselves further. If it was not for the Husky fans pouring in time, effort, money and more into the program, Marks contemplates if UW would be successful. He considers every member a part of his team. “One of my biggest pet peeves is don’t ever say to me, ‘Hey coach! Good luck to you guys,’” Marks said. “Excuse me, you mean us. We are all involved in this and all invested in the program. You are just as much a part of this as I am. We are just in different roles. You need to star in your role as much as I need to star in my role. It is our university.”
Toward the end of the event, Marks answered questions. He did not talk much about UW’s move to the Big 10, but he did mention the team has high expectations for the season.
“I show them the Pac-12 title, the Rose Bowl and the national championship every single meeting,” Marks said. “Every day, are we doing what we need to do to keep the vision aligned and accomplish all three…They have a huge responsibility to Husky Nation to bring home the conference championship trophy.”
In addition, Marks wants his players to be the best. “My motivation is to have the best group of running backs at this school,” Marks said. “We are a business model. If you put money into it and just continue to be patient and chip away, you can be profitable.”
Marks ended his presentation by comparing the local community to his running back core. “One day I decided to call every group I ever coached the legs of the team because we have to carry everyone,” Marks said. “You guys are putting in the effort. You are the legs for this community.”