Former coaches remember standout athlete killed in shooting

Crime

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Marquell Nolen was a high school and college sports standout. After a shooting at Stryker Sports Complex killed him, it has former coaches remembering him. 

Those that knew him, called him Marky. Marky’s Legacy has left his past coaches emotional. They said they feel like they’ve lost a son. 

“He had a drive inside of him to compete to overcome,” said former head basketball coach at SCCC Bryan Zollinger. 

Known for his toughness, Marky Nolen kicked off his passion for sports. He played both football and basketball at Wichita South High. Twelve years ago, the head football coach at Wichita South had the chance to take Marky under his wing. 

“I drove him to and from home,” said Johnson. 

The moment Johnson heard the news, he said he was heartbroken. 

“We’re all just kind of gut-punched right now because that was a kid we were rooting for like all the odds said this kid won’t make it and he did,” said former football coach Tony Johnson. “These players become your sons, they all do.”

Johnson said he even helped take Marky to colleges to get recruited. 

“He couldn’t get a ride so I took him to three colleges,” he said. 

Marky then was recruited at Seward County Community College where his basketball career continued. 

“He would be the first one to tell you that he had some tough living in his life,” said former SCCC head basketball coach Bryan Zollinger. 

Bryan Zollinger helped coach Marky in his years at the community college. He said in his over 30 years of coaching, Marky was the single toughest competitor.

“He showed that just by having a big heart and that competitive drive that you could be, you know that you could change your life and you go out and you punch above your weight so to speak and have a great career, a degree and a family,” said Zollinger. 

Zollinger said Marky was family. Zollinger’s father passed away several weeks ago after a long battle with pancreatic cancer, and his father’s final wish was for Marky to carry him to his final resting place. He said his family loved Marky. 

He then attended Pittsburg State University, continuing his basketball career. 

“Very rarely do the people actually change your lives that you come into contact with, and Marky certainly did that for me,” said former Pittsburg State University Basketball coach Ryan Stock. 

Stock said he had the intensity off the court, but on the court he was an amazing person. 

“He was kind, he was gentle, and loving,” said Stock. 

Marky’s past coaches said he was one of the toughest competitors they’ve seen in all their years of coaching. 

Most recently, Marky followed in those coaches’ footsteps and began coaching for youth football and basketball. 

His past coaches said his legacy to beat the odds will live on. 

“Don’t just move past this, Marky’s legacy needs to be bigger than that,” said Stock. 

Those coaches also hope people can learn from Marky by having the drive to overcome any challenge that life brings. 

Marky leaves behind a fiancé and two kids. The donation fund for the family can be found here.

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