Laymarr Marshall crafted plenty of lasting moments in just a season at the helm of the Parkland football program. Those will stick with him, despite opting to step down as head coach this week.
On Friday afternoon Marshall, who took over the Mustangs following Martin Samek's departure in December 2018, announced via a Facebook post that he was resigning. The decision came less than a month before Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools looked to lift its dead period on limited workouts for fall sports — including football — because of the coronavirus pandemic. The district announced Friday a Phase One reopening for practices on July 6.
Marshall, who guided Parkland to a 9-4 record that included a share of the Piedmont Triad 3-A title during that lone 2019 season, reaffirmed Saturday that he was stepping down for personal reasons. He declined to give specifics. Marshall said the move had been on his mind for the past several months.
"I would say, again, it was an extremely tough decision," said Marshall, adding it was a multi-faceted move that included prioritizing his family. "We accomplished a lot in a short period of time last year. You know, as a team, winning our first conference championship in 15 years at Parkland and having a number of guys move on to follow their dream to play at the next level. You know, I think the program is in a good place.
"... I think the program can move forward in a positive manner — it's been on an upward tick for the past several years. Like I said, it was not an easy decision, but one that I felt like I had to."
Marshall said he had conversations with the high school's administration — including principal Spencer Hardy and athletics director Linwood Jerald — over the past few weeks regarding a possible move to step down. According to Marshall, he will remain an Exceptional Children's teacher at Parkland. He has been employed at the high school roughly three years, following a season on Paul Nichols' staff as a running backs coach at Davidson.
According to Marshall, he notified Jerald of his official resignation on Friday. And, with a tight window before the school district lifts the dead period, Jerald will not name an interim coach.
"I feel like with us starting up on July 6, rather than do an interim (coach), I think our kids deserve to have someone to put their hat on," Jerald said. "What I'm going to do is, with the blessings of my principal, we're going to open up (the application process) for about 10 days and then we're going to interview and we're going to name a head coach.
"We're going to go forward."
Marshall, a Mount Tabor grad who played at Duke, was named Samek's replacement with the Mustangs in January 2019. Samek, who guided Parkland for six seasons and dug the program out of a slump with players like eventual Syracuse linebacker Lee Kpogba, left to take the helm at Rolesville.
Marshall, who previously led Mount Tabor to earn three Central Piedmont 4-A titles during his head coaching tenure from 2008 to 2016, noted several memories from this past season with the Mustangs. That included a three-way tie for the conference championship with Greensboro Dudley and rival Mount Tabor — the program's first title since 2004.
An overtime victory at Glenn in September. A win over the Spartans in November. He even watched five players — Denoris Wardlow, Darius Williams, Chase Rorie, Keenan Lowndes and Jasim Smith — sign with Division II programs.
Marshall, however, said he won't call plays from a sideline this season.
"I don't have plans to coach this year," Marshall said. "I don't imagine that my coaching career is over. You know, I still love the game of football. I love teaching. I love the competitiveness."