Legendary Palomar College track coach Marrin passes away

Doc Marrin
Doc Marrin

SAN MARCOS, Calif. --

Doc Marrin, the legendary Palomar men's track & field and cross country coach who guided the powerhouse 1977 Comet track team to the California Community College championship, has passed away, the college has announced.

Marrin, who coached at Palomar from 1967 through 1990, died at age 84 in Carlsbad on March 8, 2016 after a lengthy illness. His death went largely unnoticed at the time.

Marrin had hit the ground running after arriving from Los Altos High School in Hacienda Heights, CA, coaching the 1967 PC cross country team to its first-ever conference championship.

In his first meet as head track & field coach, Marrin's Comets defeated rival MiraCosta 140-2 and Imperial Valley 137-16. The following season, Palomar defeated the UNLV varsity team 120-22 in Las Vegas and the Comets never let up during Marrin's 23 years as head coach.

The Comets' state championship 1977 team was led, among others by distance runner Shannon Laird, who set a state meet record that still stands today, 40 years after he won the state 3,000-meter steeplechase in 8 minutes, 53.2 seconds. That time remains the oldest California state meet record still standing.

Luc La Perriere, who had won the state javelin championship for Marrin's 1976 team, repeated by winning the 1977 title in that event. Tom Petranoff, who never threw the javelin before coming coming to Palomar and hooking up with Marrin's javelin coach, Mark Eldridge, placed second in the '77 state meet. Petranoff went on to break the world record in the event twice after leaving Palomar. The Comets' Roland Sai Sai also won a 1977 state title, in the 110-meter high hurdles. 

Marrin also was an assistant football coach for the Comets under Mack Wiebe.

Other outstanding track & field athletes Marrin produced at Palomar included distance runner Randy Hartman (UCLA), multi-event standout Tom Ries (Oregon State) and distance runner Rick Fox (Washington State).

Dockin Frank Marrin was born in Los Angeles and at Occidental College was a pole vaulter under 1968 U.S. Olympic head coach Payton Jordan and a starter in football. He earned his B.A. degree in physical eduction from Occidental and his Masters degree from Cal State Los Angeles.

He had an outstanding career as head football and track & field coach at Los Altos High before coming to Palomar.

Marrin is survived by son Dr. Donn Marrin, a half-miler he coached at Palomar who is a noted biochemist with a PhD from the University of Arizona, Masters degree from UC Berkeley and B.S. degree from UC Irvine; daughters Danae and Diane and former wives Doris Marrin and Meridith Llewelin.

(Courtesy. Tom Saxe, Palomar Sports Information)