Baer, Marcia


To say that Orrville native Marcia Baer did a “bit of everything” throughout her career would be an understatement. As a college student at Otterbein, she played field hockey, basketball, softball and intramural volleyball.


Initially beginning as an elementary education major, Baer switched to a double-major focus in health and physical education while learning from coaches Joanne Van Sant, Marilyn Day and Judy Jensen. She became a member of Tau Delta sorority before graduating from Otterbein in the spring of 1966.


Just a few months later, on the first day of September, Baer started a remarkable 30-year run at Ontario High School. Her journey began as the advisor for both cheerleading (1967-79) and the Girl’s Athletic Association, overseeing the likes of volleyball, basketball, softball, gymnastics, tennis and track into the next decade.

Baer also played AAU basketball herself throughout early years as a postgraduate, and was quickly inducted into the Delta Kappa Gamma teacher’s sorority around the same time.


Baer was coaching female athletes interscholastically before the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) even recognized their sports. It was not uncommon for her to run consecutive practices after school from 3-5, 5-7 and 7-9 p.m. She also worked as the scorekeeper for varsity and JV boys basketball while selling tickets at home football games.


The OHSAA officially started including girls sports in 1975. Ontario started played different schools, and Baer was ready…


She led the girls basketball team for six years between 1975-81, compiling an overall record of 79-31 and becoming the United Press International (UPI) No. 1-ranked team in Ohio for the 1977 season. That occurred during a stretch where her Warriors won 57 regular-season games in a row. Baer stayed in full throttle by also coaching the softball and volleyball teams throughout her entire 30 years. She racked up a career record of 256-150 on the volleyball hardwood while remaining a consistent presence on the diamond come spring. The do-it-all taskmaster ended up with multiple volleyball, basketball and softball teams competing in the regionals throughout her career.


After retiring in May of 1996, Baer obtained a commercial driver’s license to operate buses for Ontario athletic teams. The middle school gymnasium was renamed in Baer’s honor in 2019, and a scholarship fund was established in her name to aid college-bound students that embody her qualities.


Baer also became an EMT (in 1997) after retiring from teaching, and worked for the Mansfield Ambulance Service for 18 years. Originally getting her water safety instructor (WSI) certification at Ohio Wesleyan as a college student, Baer worked for the Red Cross for over 50 years and taught different groups. She was notably a lifeguard, teacher and CPR instructor at nearby North Central State College. Her competitive nature didn’t end at Ontario. Baer remained a dedicated water-skier and, after winning statewide and regional tournaments, went on to place ninth at nationals competing against individuals 30 years younger.


Baer, a Martha Jennings Scholar, is a member of Eastern Stars, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and the Ohio Association of EMS. For all that she has done to build and further strengthen women’s athletics, along with represent Otterbein as an accomplished graduate, Marcia Baer occupies a well-deserved spot in our Athletics Hall of Fame.