Former Magnolia Star Cisar to Coach JM Baseball
By BUBBA KAPRAL
Executive Sports Editor
GLEN DALE – The Marshall County Board of Education delivered a home run at its meeting June 27.
The school board had the huge task of replacing legendary John Marshall baseball coach Bob Montgomery. He stepped down earlier this month after nearly a half-century at the helm, amassing more than 800 wins and a 1985 state championship.
The board delivered in stellar fashion by selecting Mark Cisar as the Monarchs’ new baseball boss. Cisar is well known in Ohio Valley circles for his baseball expertise, passion, acumen and willingness to help any aspiring athlete.
He comes to John Marshall from West Liberty University, where he served as the Hilltoppers pitching coach.
“I am very excited. There is a lot of tradition with John Marshall baseball,” Cisar said. “I realize I am following a legend. Monty did a tremendous job leading this program for a very long time. I have coached with him for a few years and have a great deal of respect for him.
“This is a nice challenge. I am hoping to do some nice things with this program and bring excitement to it. The big thing right off the bat is to compete.
“That comes with winning. Our ultimate goal is to make it to Charleston. But you start by winning sectionals and then regionals. It will be fun competing against the big boys like Wheeling Park, Parkersburg South, Morgantown and Parkersburg.”
Cisar brings a wealth of coaching experience to the job. In addition to serving as an assistant at JM and West Liberty, he was head coach at Union Local and later an assistant at Wheeling Jesuit University.
He also had the luxury of being tutored by his father, Dave, who was his head coach in football and baseball at Magnolia. The elder Cisar is a Mountain State coaching legend with 900 baseball wins to his credit.
Cisar’s transition to Monarchs head coach is made easier by the fact he knows his future players well. He is a teacher at JM.
The 1994 Magnolia grad was equally gifted on the football field and the baseball diamond.
He is a two-time winner of the state football “Player of the Year” award, winning West Virginia’s Kennedy Award in 1992 and ’93. He was also the West Virginia Gatorade “Player of the Year” in 1992 and a two-time Class AA all-state captain. In addition, he was a two-time All-OVAC and All-Valley selection.
Cisar starred at quarterback, safety, placekicker and punter on Blue Eagles teams that compiled a two-year record of 25-3, finishing as the Class AA state runner-up twice.
In two seasons as a starter and one as a backup, he passed for Ohio Valley record totals of 5,193 yards and 64 touchdowns. As a junior, he passed for a record 2,691 yards and 34 TDs. He also kicked a valley and state record total of 85 points and had a record-tying 99-yard TD pass as a junior.
In baseball, the affable Cisar was a three-time all-state honoree, All-OVAC and All-Valley pitcher. His prep exploits earned him a baseball scholarship to Charleston Southern University in South Carolina where he was a four-year starter.
Cisar was named Big South Conference “Player of the Year” in 1997 and was a three-time all-conference selection. He was drafted by the Boston Red Sox and was the organization’s Rookie League “Pitcher of the Year” in 1998.
In 1999, he was selected to the South Atlantic League All-Star Team and won a South Atlantic League title in ’99 as a member of the Augusta Green Jackets. He then played for the Capitales de Quebec, an independent league team, and was an all-star in 2002 and the Northern League “Relief Pitcher of the Year.”
His professional baseball career was short-circuited when he tore his labrum.
Cisar was also a regular in basketball at Magnolia, scoring 45 points in a game on one occasion. He is a member of the OVAC and Charleston Southern Halls of Fame.
Cisar enjoyed a successful stint as Union Local’s head football coach. He guided the Jets to a 9-1 record and their first OHSAA playoff berth in 2007. He was named the Eastern District’s “Coach of the Year” in Division IV that season.
“I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to coach at West Liberty. It was great to work with Coach (Eric) Burkle and a real good learning experience,” Cisar said. “Coaching in college is exciting. They really want to play at that level. I am going to miss the players.”
Cisar, 42, resides in St. Clairsville with his wife, Angie, and their four children: Maddie 12, Jacob, 9, and twin sons Isaiah and Jonah, 2.
He is still an active player, starring for Maynard in the Ohio Valley Baseball League.