WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Marshall Warren always wanted to be a Seahawk.
As a teen, he would attend UNCW's tennis camp, and fly a Seahawk flag at his home. Also a Tar Heel fan, he developed his way to one of the top prep players in the area by his senior season.
When other schools recruited him, Warren stuck with his gut decision to stay home.
"I've honestly always wanted to come here, ever since I was a kid I watched the matches out here, I used to fly around the UNCW flag," said Warren. "When I heard there was a spot open here, I knew I was going to take it."
Last season, six of the nine players on the UNCW men's tennis roster were international athletes. It was a talented group that nearly won the program's fifth conference title. Nobody on the roster was from North Carolina – but that's changing next year.
Warren grew up in Wilmington and just graduated from New Hanover High School, with offers from UNC Asheville, App State, Old Dominion and more. Despite some of those schools offering scholarship money, Warren elected to walk-on at UNCW.
"This guy's really passionate about what we're doing here, and the guy's been a die hard fan since he was a little kid, running around the courts," said Mait DuBois, UNCW's head coach. "So I thought this could be a good fit."
UNCW is in the middle of their youth tennis camps, which Warren knows well.
"I did it when I was, when I was younger, I'd say 13 through 15."
And he immediately grabbed the coaches attention, though maybe for not the best reasons.
"As a camper, he was a wild man. All I remember was he wouldn't stop talking and he couldn't focus for more than five seconds," DuBois reflected. "But he grew up out of that."
Warren grew into a senior at New Hanover that went 16-2 his senior year. He's a Wilmington kid staying home, working to contribute to a program that has their sights on the NCAA Tourney every year.
"I'm just happy to go to a team that has a great tradition. They've been as high as top 30 in the country tennis wise. They've always had a great team, they've had great players, and I'm just excited to be a part of that."