In fact, Marsden had fallen in love with someone that season, but he was keeping it to himself. Megan McCunniff was a freshman on the team, and when Marsden scheduled her last among his one-on-one evaluations two weeks after the season ended, she trembled in fear.
"Greg had recruited me sight unseen as a favor to a friend, and we had fought a lot that spring," she recalls. "I thought that he might be wondering whether I'd be happier someplace else."
Instead, the coach told his athlete that he was in love with her, and that he did not know how to resolve the situation. "That's Greg," says Megan, 33, "always hitting an issue head-on."
The couple decided, after discussions with Megan's parents and Utah's athletic director, to start dating later that summer. They wed in June of 1983, after Megan's junior year, and, luckily for both, neither's career suffered. In Megan's final two seasons under Greg's tutelage she won three individual titles and set an NCAA record for the highest score in the all-around. Utah was national champion all four years she competed. Megan is now associate head coach for the Utes, and she and Greg have two sons, Montana, 7, and Dakota, 4.
Greg does not joke about having fallen in love with one of his gymnasts, nor excuse himself for such a serious breach of coaching ethics. "My life has been a series of mistakes, I guess," he says, "and while that one was the best mistake I ever made, and we can rationalize it all day...bottom line, it was the wrong thing to do."
The good news is that Marsden now has someone with whom he can share his triumphs. Megan even puts up with his habit of leaving the television on all night. Well, most of the time she does. On a recent February night she couldn't tune out the droning voices and the eerie blue light of the TV, so she repaired to the living room sofa. Her husband didn't miss her very long: By four a.m., he was up, out of the house and at the Utah athletic offices, preparing for a meet at Michigan that was still a day away.