Growing up an only child in Hudson, Ohio, Ohio State junior center Matt Marinchick did not have any little brothers or sisters to spend quality time with or to watch out for. He did, however, find ways to compensate. Marinchick has always been a self-described “people person.” Now, as he nears completion of a degree in family resource management, he hopes he can find a profession that will allow him take advantage of that trait and allow him to work with people on a personal level.
“I like the idea of helping people set up different plans to reach their goals,” Marinchick said. “I work well with others because it’s all I’ve been doing all my life. Playing basketball is basically dealing with people around you, whether it’s the coaches, the players or the fans. It’s just all the people you’re either in cooperation with or dealing with.”
Wanting to help people is not a new experience for Marinchick. He calls it his “big brother syndrome” and says he has had it since he was in elementary school, where he was always bigger than most of his schoolmates.
“I guess I’ve always been a person looking out for other people,” Marinchick said. “In elementary school I was always looking out for the little guy who was getting picked on.”
Marinchick, who is in his fourth year on campus after being redshirted as a freshman, has one year of eligibility remaining after this season. When looking at what he might do when his basketball career concludes, he said his options for his future occupation are wide open. He can envision himself as a family financial planner, a sales person or even a youth basketball coach.
“Whatever it is, I want to be involved with a lot of people,” Marinchick said. “I think that’s my niche. I enjoy being around people and dealing with people. I don’t want to be stuck behind a desk in an office all the time.”
This came as no surprise to Marinchick’s mother, Mary. She said though she often hears that children with no siblings grow up selfish or spoiled, her son was the opposite.
“I never had to harp on him about sharing,” Mary said.
She is not surprised her son is considering a career that would involve helping. Whether it was working with young inner-city kids as a summer camp counselor in high school or instructing young basketball players at a skills camp in Hudson, she said her son has always enjoyed giving back to the community, especially to kids.
“The kids at the summer camp looked up to me because I played basketball and a lot of them played basketball,” Matt said. “A lot of them were from the inner city, from really rough backgrounds, and didn’t get a chance to do much so it was a chance for me to give back, to help out little kids and show them what it was to be good friends.”
At Ohio State, Marinchick’s duties as a student and as a basketball player put great demands on his time, but he takes advantage of the opportunities to give back. He often talks to elementary school kids, both in Columbus and in Hudson, about the value of hard work and commitment when facing hard times.
“The coaches offer lots of things to do with the community,” Marinchick said. “I always try to take advantage of them because I like being around kids and using the pedestal that I’ve been put on as a college basketball player at Ohio State to be able to talk to kids about staying in school and working hard, in basketball or whatever it is they are doing.”
That he would have such an abundance of opportunities at Ohio State to help the community came as no surprise to Marinchick. He said during his recruiting process there was an underlying message that head coach Jim O’Brien’s program was about more than just basketball. Marinchick sensed an atmosphere of helping, learning and growing in Columbus.
“Coach O’Brien has definitely talked to us about more than just the game,” Marinchick said. “He has taught us not to take things or people for granted because one day they might not be there.”
Marinchick also said it is good to have a coaching staff that is really interested in more than just plays on the court.
“Personally, I feel that Coach O’Brien has made me more well rounded,” Marinchick said. “He’s made me a better person, let alone a better player. I think that’s very important.”
Matt’s mother agrees the Ohio State experience has been a positive one for her son, but she believes it involves more than just basketball.
“The good qualities he had before he went to Ohio State have been enhanced by the whole college experience,” she said. “Hudson is kind of secluded, but I think living in the dorms with people of all walks of life really showed him a bigger picture.”
As an example, she cited Matt’s recent visit to a Hudson High School boys’ basketball practice in November. On the day after Thanksgiving, she said her son, who was home for the holiday, woke up early in the morning and dropped in for the 7:30 a.m. practice. He worked out with the team, dressed not in clothes that advertised his status as an Ohio State basketball player, but in a simple Hudson basketball shirt.
Marinchick’s high school coach, Wayne Watts, said a visit such as the one that Friday morning is not uncommon. He said when Marinchick was in high school he always worked with the younger players, attempting to help them improve their game. Now that he has graduated, he continues to set a positive example for them.
“Whenever he has a break he knows our weight room schedule and the practice schedule,” Watts said. “He is a good example for my players because he doesn’t have to do anything, but he comes in and works harder than they do so they get to see his work ethic and how it has benefited him.”
Marinchick said the visits serve a dual purpose.
“Before our conditioning starts we usually have a month off,” Marinchick said. “That’s when I like to really get in shape so I go to our high school and work out with my old coach. He gives a pretty good workout so I feel like a get a good jump.”
More than just an opportunity for personal gain, however, he said he enjoys seeing his old coaches and reminiscing about his time as a high school basketball player. Additionally, he hopes to set a good example of the benefits of hard work for the young players currently on the team.
Aside from honing his basketball skills, high school was the place Marinchick began giving back to the community. Watts said his players took part in many community service projects each year and Matt was always very active with them. The most notable of the projects took place during Marinchick’s senior year. The players on the Hudson High School team worked alongside the mayor of Cleveland in a food distribution program in which they filled bags with holiday meals and personally delivered them to people who otherwise would have had nothing to eat.
High school sports were not the only avenue that led Marinchick to be a giving person. He cited his parents as the main source of his generous nature.
“I guess sports gave me just a little boost, but I think it came a lot from my family,” Marinchick said. “They put me out there and let me do a lot of things and try a lot of things. Whatever I wanted to do, they really supported.”
To show just how open to trying new things his parents are, Marinchick said they even were behind him last summer when he said he might like to try professional wrestling when his basketball career concludes. Though he was joking, his mother told him if he really wanted to be a wrestler, he should go for it.
Though he may not be joining World Wrestling Entertainment any time soon, the open-minded attitude Marinchick received from his parents actually was what led him into basketball originally. When he was a grade-schooler, his parents signed him up for a basketball camp. Initially he did not enjoy himself and quit, but they told him to give it another try. Eventually, the sport grew on him.
“Whatever it was, they asked that I give it my best and work my hardest,” Marinchick said. “Whatever I felt I could do, they encouraged me to go for it.”
Even if it he wanted to try his hand at professional wrestling?
Mary Marinchick said she wasn’t sure if her son was joking when he brought the idea to her attention, but she was still encouraging. However, she admitted beneath the surface she feared her son finally might have come up with a bad idea. Regardless, she said her reaction was the same as it was to his other endeavors.
“I can’t say, ‘You can’t do that,'” Mary said. “If you have an idea and it’s really in your heart to do something, I’m not going to stop you.”
It was encouragement from a different source that led Marinchick to choose his current major. He began his college career studying marketing, but during his sophomore year it began to look as if his classes were not going to line-up in a way that would allow him to graduate on time. In his search for a solution, Marinchick received some valuable advice from the basketball team’s academic advisor, Teri Casperson.
“I remember Matt and I had several talks about his career goals and what he wanted to do,” Casperson said. “I thought family resource management seemed like a good fit for him.”
She said though many students may not be aware of the family resource management program, she has found it to be a good fit for several of the athletes she counsels because it provides a good combination of business courses that are applied and hands on. The program was a good fit for Marinchick because of his fondness for working with people.
After receiving Casperson’s advice, Marinchick researched the program. He found a lot of the coursework dealt with consumer affairs, focusing on relationships and families. He said he was drawn to the major because it was not as much about business as it was human ecology. Marinchick preferred to focus on the well being of people and families, something family resource management allowed him to do.
Though it was not his first choice, Marinchick feels fortunate to have found a course of study in which he feels comfortable.
“It was kind of luck, I guess, that I got involved with it but it worked out for the best,” Marinchick said.
Now he is excited about the possibilities that are open to him.
“I want to be out there working with people,” Marinchick said. “Somewhere that I can communicate with and get to know people and help them out. Financial planning and financial managing have a lot to do with communication and building a relationship with the family, helping them to meet their goals.”
Wherever the only-child from Hudson ends up, it is a safe bet he will not be alone.