Marion honors Chuck Kent in his 64th consecutive season on the chain gang

Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 7:38 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MARION, Iowa (KCRG) - The Marion football team played their first home game at the new Marion Stadium last Friday. Although the Wolves have changed locations, there is one face on the sidelines that’s been a constant for more than six decades.

Chuck Kent is a part of the four-man chain gang that patrols the sidelines for the Marion Wolves Friday night home football games.

“It’s just fun to be down on the field with the kids, the team, the coaches,” Kent said.

As a 1954 graduate of Marion High School and former four-sport athlete, Kent likes to stay close to the action.

“Chuck and I were basketball teammates, football and  track. You had go out for track. You didn’t want to, but you had to. The coach insisted on it and baseball,” Chuck’s longtime friend Dan Kellams said.

Kent joined the crew responsible for showing the down and measuring the distance to a first down on an emergency situation.

“I had got back from the service, was sitting up in the stands and one of my friends was running the chains,” Kent explained. “They came up to the stands and were one [person] short and were wondering if I would help them for a game. I said yeah, I would.”

That was back in 1960.

“He didn’t tell me it was going to be that long,” Kent added.

This season marks his 64th as a part of the Marion chain gang.

“It’s incredible. It must be a world record,” Kellams said. ”Anyone would think that they’d say after 20 years, 30 years or 40 years of doing this, they’d say ‘well, I’m getting a little old for this. I’d think I better hang it up.’ Not Chuck. Chuck is Mr. Friday Night Lights.”

Kent’s dedication to Marion athletics extends beyond the gridiron.

“The other remarkable thing about him is that for 30 years, he was the official scorekeeper at basketball games, home or away. For 30 years,” Kellams added.

The Wolves made sure to publicly recognize Kent before their home opener at the new stadium, where they thanked him for his more than six decades or service. He received a standing ovation.

“I’m not so sure it’s deserved. There’s got to be a lot of people in this world that deserve more than that for sure,” Kent said.

Wearing the black and orange striped vest with one of the best seats in the house, makes Kent a part of the game even after all these years.

“It’s been a good pay back to the community and the school,” he said. “The volunteer part of it, the students and just being involved with kids, it keeps you young.”

As far on if he plans to return for a 65th season, he says the decision is not up to him.

“I have no idea on that,” Kent said. “That’s probably up to the good Lord.”