WOMEN LEAD CHANGE: Marx giving 'all of her all'

Mar. 30—Clinton High School River Queens girls' basketball coach Cathy Marx just recently finished her fifth season with the team. It was a season in which they saw significantly more losses than wins.

"We're improving," Marx said. "We're trying to move a cruise ship. We're trying to change the mentality of this program, of the River Queens, of the River Kings, of Clinton High School athletics. It's a slow-going change."

With Scott and Christina Levine, Marx started a feeder program for the varsity girls' basketball team, call the Little Queens.

"Before that, there wasn't really a place, so we're getting these girls to play basketball a lot earlier," Marx said. "Now, the girls that are in eighth grade right now, those are the girls that have been playing ball since third grade. There's a lot of hope for the years to come."

Marx, herself, began playing basketball at a young age. Marx recalls having been a shy kid.

"I'm six-foot-five," she said. "Basketball opened doors for me."

Marx graduated from Riverdale High School in Illinois, then became a four-year letter winner as a member of the Iowa Hawkeyes basketball team, who she helped to lead to a Final Four appearance during her junior season in 1993.

It was during this time that Marx's life was changed by Hall of Fame head coach of Iowa women's basketball C. Vivian Stringer.

"She brought me out of my shell," Marx said. "Coach and I had a lot of talks about sometimes you've got to make people uncomfortable because you just see so much potential in them. Sometimes, I come across here as a mean coach, but I look at these girls and I'm like, you can do so much more. I just want to make sure that you're giving all your all so that you don't ever look back and have any regrets."

After Marx's collegiate career, she played professionally overseas for about five years in Poland, Australia, Switzerland and France before deciding she was finished playing basketball.

"I was 28 and needed an ankle surgery," she said, and that it was something she did not want to go through with.

That's when she began coaching, serving as an assistant for three seasons at Butler University in Indianapolis and assistant varsity coach at Brefeuf Preparatory High School.

Simultaneously, after six years working for the YMCA, she became part of the City of Indianapolis' Parks and Recreation Department.

Marx had applied for the position of sports manager for the city, but each new mayor brought adjustments to the department's positions.

"We'd kind of morph," Marx said, having found herself overseeing naturalists. "That was me holding a little owl in front of kids."

Eleven years later, in 2017, Marx moved to Clinton.

"I left Indy, because it was time to come home," she said.

Under Executive Director Josh Eggers, Marx is the Assistant Director of Clinton's Parks and Rec. Department, coordinating special events and overseeing the summer day camp, Riverview Pool, and Eagle Point Lodge.

"We have a lot spinning right now," she said, noting the just-renovated and expanded Erickson Fitness Center.

Riverview Pool is to soon undergo improvements as well, with a new entrance and the painting of the pool building this spring.

They are also in the process of moving the marina building onto the water, "so boaters don't have to dock and then wait for someone to come down to them," Marx said.

"I think it'll be a game-changer for everybody," she adds. "It's just exciting what we're able to do with the support of the Council and mayor and our City Administrator to make so many improvements here in town."