Kerry Marbury to be honored through Saban-supported foundation gift

Monday, September 23, 2019

The foundation established by University of Alabama head coach and Monongah native Nick Saban and his wife, Terry, has funded a scholarship to honor Kerry Marbury, a long-time family friend who died in June.

“The older we get, the clearer it becomes that true friendships go beyond distance and time and circumstances,” said Nick Saban. “If one has but a few true friends, then indeed, that is the richest treasure of all.  Kerry Marbury was a friend from childhood who was like a member of my family.”

The Kerry Marbury Memorial Scholarship, established by the Nick’s Kids Foundation, will provide funds to Fairmont State students from Marion County with financial need starting in fall 2020.

Marbury died from cancer June 23 at his home in Fairmont. He graduated from Monongah High School, where he and Saban were classmates and teammates. Marbury teamed with Saban to lead Monongah to consecutive Class A state championships in 1968 and 1969. He finished with more than 6,000 rushing yards in his prep career, including 402 in a game against Kingwood.

Marbury earned such honors as All-State in 1968 and 1969, All-American in 1969, West Virginia Back of the Year in 1969, and ranked in the top 100 players in the United States in 1969.

“My father, Nick Saban Sr., coached Kerry and me on the Black Diamond Pop Warner football team, and Kerry and I were teammates on the Monongah High football team, winning the 1968 and 1969 Class A state championships together. No matter where our paths took us, Kerry always stayed in touch and showed his support and caring.” 

In high school, Marbury lettered in football for four years, track for four years, and basketball for two years. He played football at WVU from 1971-1972, and was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 1976, but eventually left football by the age of 24.

Marbury rushed for 1,665 yards and 22 touchdowns over the 1971 and 1972 seasons at WVU. He carried the ball 145 times for 890 yards as a sophomore, before rushing for 775 yards on 150 attempts as a junior.

He also set the school’s single-game rushing record with 291 yards rushing against Temple, a mark that has since been topped.

“Kerry will always be remembered not only for his talent as a football player, but also for his true grit and determination in overcoming adversity in his life to become a positive impact on others in his community,” Saban said. “We hope that this scholarship will help other local young adults continue their education to positively impact their lives and that it will honor Kerry Marbury's name.”

Marbury attended Fairmont State University, where he earned his bachelor’s in 1990. He earned his master’s from West Virginia University in 1991.

“Fairmont State University is thrilled and touched to offer The Kerry Marbury Memorial Scholarship on behalf of the Nick’s Kids Foundation,” Mirta M. Martin, president of Fairmont State University, said. “We are thrilled because this scholarship will give deserving kids – those hard-working Marion County students with financial need who seek a Fairmont State education – the support they need to succeed. But it’s also touching, knowing the history of deep friendship and love between the scholarship’s namesake and Nick Saban. That same spirit of friendship and family is intertwined with everything we do at Fairmont State.”

Marbury became a professor of Humanities and Race, Class, and Gender at Fairmont State University, as well as a Fairmont State University Safety Director.

“Kerry Marbury’s legacy will live on in perpetuity through this endowed scholarship,” said Julie R. Cryser, Fairmont State Foundation president. “This is such a fitting tribute to a friend, classmate and teammate, and we thank the Sabans for their generosity and support of our Fairmont State students, especially those from Marion County who have financial need.”

The Nick's Kids Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness and resources for deserving organizations throughout the state of Alabama and Southeast. As the official charity of the Nick Saban Family, Nick and Terry invest their time in hosting luncheons, golf tournaments scrimmages, and other events to benefit the cause. They are also active in the Annual Fall Giveaway Luncheon, which serves to distribute grants to support children, family, teacher, and student causes.

In 1998, during their time at Michigan State University, Nick and Terry Saban established Nick's Kids Foundation in honor of the late Nick Saban, Sr. Since then, the Sabans have maintained and supported their charity throughout their careers at Louisiana State University, the Miami Dolphins, and currently at the University of Alabama.

To date, Nick's Kids Foundation has distributed over $6 million to hundreds of deserving organizations and causes. Additionally, Nick and Terry Saban have personally completed their donation of $1 million to the First-Generation Scholarship at the University of Alabama. The Sabans are proud to be major sponsors of new the St. Francis Saban Student Center at their church, St. Francis Catholic.

This gift was made through the Fairmont State Foundation Inc., the non-profit organization that solicits and administers private donations on behalf of the Fairmont State University.