RIO GRANDE — Jim Marshall has been honored by the University of Rio Grande for his great basketball career, but now he’ll be honored for something even greater.
Rio Grande will honor all veterans on Friday, Nov. 4, when they hosts Wright State University-Lake at 6:30 p.m. to begin the basketball season. All veterans will be honored and admitted free to all athletic events during the 2016-17 year.
Atop the list of honorees will be Marshall who is a member of the Rio Grande athletic Hall of Fame.
Marshall is this year’s “Veteran of the Year” award recipient for the annual Honor Our Veterans Night event.
Although most fans remember the 6-foot-2, high-jumping Marshall for his rebounding, defense and 25 points per game average in an All-American career, even more impressive was his stint with the United States Marine Corps.
Marshall began his training as a radio operator and was sent to Okinawa in 1966 for pre-stage training prior to being sent to Viet Nam.
A member of the Kilo Battery Fourth Battalion 13th Marines, Marshall won a Purple Heart in the Viet Nam War when the foxhole he was in was hit by a rocket. He sustained a severe head wound that permanently damaged the hearing in one ear.
He was airlifted to a medical aid station and stabilized, then flown to the Philadelphia Naval Hospital where he spent nine months.
Once he was able to leave the hospital, he began escorting bodies back to families of Marines who had died in service.
Marshall returned to Rio Grande in 1968 to finish his education and play basketball for Art Lanham, the all-time winningest coach in school history and Marshall’s presenter into the Rio Grande Hall of Fame.
However, the severe hearing loss forced Marshall to abandon his attempt to complete school and left in May of 1970.
He was inducted into the URG Hall of Fame Nov. 15, 1975.
But Marshall was still drawn to serve his country and joined the 684th Army National Guard in 1974 and was a member of the Medical Company Clearing in Westerville.
Marshall retired from the unit after 10 years as a First Sergeant.
A native of Logan, Marshall was the youngest of four children born to Earl and Eileen Marshall.
The family moved to Columbus when Marshall was 2-years old and he later attended South High School where he was an all-city honoree in track and basketball. He was the captain of the basketball team his senior year.
Marshall graduated in 1959 and began playing in several independent basketball leagues.
In 1964, Lanham persuaded Marshall to come to Rio Grande where he plays for a year and a half before leaving school to join the Marine Corp.
Just before basic training, Marshall was playing basketball for Bliss College in Columbus and was part of the highest-scoring game in the single game of regulation length in college history as Bliss beat Otterbein College of Commerce 207-88.
The team and Marshall were recognized for the record by the Guinness Book of World Records in 1973. Marshall scored 87 points in the game and teammate Ron Porter had 90 points.
Jim has been married for 46 years to the former Joan Lenhart whom he met at Rio Grande. The couple have two children, Kimberly Shepherd and James Roy Marshall. The Marshalls also have a 4-year-old grandson, Kenny Marshall.
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