Another milestone nears

Longtime Marina High softball coach Shelly Luth is three wins shy of 400 career victories.

March 30, 2011|By Mike Sciacca,
  • Marina softball Coach Shelly Luth shares a smile with her team during a nonleague game against Kennedy at Marina High School on Monday.
Marina softball Coach Shelly Luth shares a smile with… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

Shelly Luth rolled her eyes when the subject was brought up, then looked around the Marina softball diamond, as if trying to find out how the information leaked out.

Despite her good-natured kidding, there was a definitely twinkle in her eye as she playfully sought out the culprit. Her team, and assistant coaches, had already scattered to all ends of the field following a home nonleague win over Kennedy. It was too late.

It was the same type of twinkle Luth possesses any time she's on the playing field, where she's fully immersed in what's taking place, be it practice or a game. It's truly a place where she feels right at home.

The Queen of the Diamond — well, in longevity terms among the six Sunset League coaches — is in her 20th year as head coach of the Marina softball program. As season No. 20 approaches its midway point, Luth is only a few wins shy of attaining a watershed moment: 400 career victories.


When asked about it, Luth, who likes to maintain a low-profile away from the playing field, didn't brush aside the impending milestone. She had only intended it go unnoticed.

Assistant coach Michelle Spencer thought otherwise.

It was Spencer, as Luth found out, who had let the news slip.

"Shelly is very passionate about Marina softball," said Spencer, who also is the girls' athletic director and teaches math at Marina. "These kids are like her own and she works hard to get the best out of them, both on and off the field. She prides herself in having not only fundamentally sound teams, but teams that make Marina High School proud. When we, as athletic directors, point out the way to run a program, we generally point to Shelly's program.

"Shelly is one of the most intense people I know when she steps onto the field. In 14 years of being her assistant, the intensity has not died down, at all. Being her assistant has been a lot of fun. We have accomplished a lot, won a lot, but most of all, enjoyed the ride. We have become the best of friends and it will sad when this journey ends someday."

Although she might not have wanted the fanfare surrounding No. 400, nothing Luth has done with the Marina program has gone unnoticed. Throughout the years, she, her staff and the players that have been the face of Vikings softball, have contributed to Marina being a well-respected program that is a perennial league and CIF contender.

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