BY JAMIR WILSON
In many eyes, Margie Knight is a legend in Salisbury University athletic history.
Knight was a three-sport athlete during her time at Salisbury, playing volleyball, basketball and softball. In 1995, she was inducted to the Salisbury Athletic Hall of Fame putting the final mark on her playing career.
“I really enjoyed the four years that I was here,” Knight said. “It was a great experience. The professors were awesome the classes were small so you would know everyone.”
The Catonsville native knew instantly that she wanted to be a coach once her playing career was over.
She spent 13 years at North Caroline High School as a teacher and volleyball and softball coach. She saw major successes with both sports winning the state championship in softball in 1988 and 1991, and a state title for volleyball in 1990.
Coaching softball and volleyball became a reality for Knight at her alma mater when she was hired in 1997, and since her hiring, the Sea Gulls have seen much success with Knight at the helm.
Her teams have been a dominant force in the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) posting a 170-12 record and bringing home 18 conference championships, including one in 2016.
A lot has changed throughout Knight’s time at Salisbury University, from the school’s population growth, to the new additions to the college in both athletics and academics.
Despite the changes on the campus, Knight has provided stability at one of the most successful Division III programs in the country. On April 1 of this year, Knight became just the 14th head coach in Division III history to earn 700 wins.
“Players, they buy in to what we do, they believe in it. I think they see the coaching staff believe in what we do every day and it’s contagious,” Knight said.”
Like many SU coaches, Knight has become a role model to her players and has become much more than a coach in several athlete’s eyes.
“The little things like what we do in practice, she knows what she’s doing. She isn’t just our coach but also kind of like a mother and cares about us inside and outside of softball,” senior shortstop Kim Dorsey said.
After giving much time and effort into both volleyball and softball, Knight decided the traveling and recruiting process for both sports had become too overwhelming. She then shifted all of her focus towards softball, determined to make the program the best in Division III.
Throughout her 20 years of coaching, keeping in touch with her former players have become one of her most proud benefits from her job. Knight has built more than a sports program at Salisbury – she’s built a family that all of her former players are included in.
Knight’s record and resume speak for themselves. She’s very accomplished and has earned the trust of her players to believe in what she’s saying and preaching to them.
“(Trust) is a really big factor, especially in the postseason when it’s win or go home, and she definitely knows how to win,” Dorsey said.
The Sea Gulls have made nine World Series appearances under Knight, and come away with memories each trip. Fighting to get back to the World Series atmosphere is what fuels Knight and her players each and every season.
“It’s actually a little more relaxing at the national championships than the regionals or the superregionals,” Knight said. “You don’t know your opponent as well in the national championship setting, you don’t play them normally during the year.”
With another successful regular season under the Sea Gulls’ belt, where the team only lost four games and ended on a 14-game win streak, Knight believes this could be the team that finally brings home the program’s first national title.
“They’re more mature because there are six seniors which is a large group we haven’t really had that occur,” Knight said. “The seniors are very driven because they’ve been to the national championship and have an idea of what it’s about.”
Ranked No. 2 in Division III, and fresh off a CAC championship, the Gulls will start their quest to the national championship on May 13, where SU is expected to host the first round of the NCAA Regional round.
Regardless when Salisbury’s season ends, the Gulls know had it not been for the tireless efforts of their coach, winning might not be such a common occurrence at SU.
The legacy of Knight has always been more about the people she’s touched than the hardware, accolades and accomplishments. Her care for her players and her motherly influence makes her something all athletes desire – a coach that teaches how to get to the next level in sports and in life.