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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Marques was football coach and role model

By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Mike Marques

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Although he coached just three seasons of football at the high school varsity level, Mike Marques left a lasting impression on those he touched.

The former coach at McKinley and Roosevelt from 1977 to 1979 died Thursday. He was 64.

"He meant a lot to us," said Radford athletic director Kelly Sur, a 1978 McKinley graduate who played for Marques from Pop Warner, JV and varsity. "He cared for his players ... He got the most out of each player and as a coach, that's one of your jobs. The things he used, I used as a coach (myself). He was a great man."

After serving as a Honolulu police officer from 1966 to 1979, he continued working in some aspect of law enforcement in the public and private sector. He coached the then-Kapiolani Tigers Pop Warner team, then JV at McKinley. In 1976, he landed his first stint as varsity head coach at McKinley when the program was in turmoil. He took over for Howard Gay after a regular-season opening loss. Under Marques, the Tigers won five of their next six, but a heart-breaking loss to Farrington in the last game of the season ended their playoff bid.

"He brought the spirit back," Sur said.

Despite saving that season, Marques was not retained, and ended up coaching at Roosevelt the next two seasons.

Marques left such an impression on players he coached, some even followed his footsteps. Dwight Sato, an all-star linebacker for the Tigers, became a police officer because of Marques and fellow Tigers coach Wayne Autele.

"He was like my second father," Sato, a detective who has been with HPD for 28 years, said of Marques. "He took me every place. We'd sit down, talk stories about anything.

"You looked up to them (referring to Marques and Autele). They always taught you to do the right thing. Those two were one of the reasons I became (a police officer)."

"He was an inspirational coach and a great friend," added Clifton Nakatani, another former player, who is a dentist in Sacramento, Calif.

Besides coaching, Marques' other love was the Dallas Cowboys.

"A lot of people don't know this, but out of high school (McKinley '63), he went to the Dallas Cowboys training camp (to try out)," said his wife, Stephanie. "He lasted two weeks."

Cowboys' flags front his Makiki home. One of his grandsons is named Dallas John, Stephanie said.

Like the way he left a lasting impression on his players, Marques did the same with his own children. Stephanie said one of the children recalled when they were naughty, their father would always seem to turn up when he wasn't expected.

"They were thoroughly convinced he had special powers," Stephanie said.

Marques is survived by wife, Stephanie; daughter, Stacy Ellefsen; sons Dean Marques, Ryan Murashige and Randy Murashige; sister Beverly Prater, of Florida; and seven grandchildren.

Services will be held Saturday at Kaimuki Christian Church. Visitation is 9:30 a.m. with services at 10:30 a.m.

Long-time friend Mike Lum, the former big league baseball player and hitting coordinator with the Milwaukee Brewers, will be speaking at the service, Stephanie Marques said. She added that Sato also will speak about the football experience.

"Football was so important to him," Stephanie Marques said of her husband. "It needed to be part of the program."