Scenic view of trees at camp

Staff Profile: Marshall “Swole City” Wallace

by Karissa Pitaniello


Get to know the director of Crier Creek as he lets us in on what it’s like to be a non-Aggie living in Aggieland, tells us about what the Lord is teaching him, and shares some seriously hilarious camp stories (swamps, falling on skates, and blind dates involved)! 

Tell us about yourself!
Born and raised in Oklahoma, I’m a true Okie! After earning a bachelor’s in health science from Southwestern Oklahoma State University, my original plan for occupational therapy took a different turn, thanks to the unexpected plans the Lord had for me.

I’ve been happily married to my wife Kendall for two and a half years. We had a unique start because we were set up on a blind date during my first summer at Crier Creek. A couple of families at family camp orchestrated the setup. It began with a mom approaching me, asking if I was single, followed by another dad inquiring the same soon after. Turns out, they were scheming behind the scenes!  We had our blind date in the summer of 2020 amidst the challenges of Covid. Fast forward to now: we’re happily married with a one-year-old son named Pryor, who celebrated his first birthday on December 27th.


How did you get to Pine Cove? What different roles have you held?
A girl I knew in college  encouraged me to apply to Pine Cove. After contemplating it for a while, I applied and interviewed with Monty Spurgeon, the men’s director at the Timbers. A funny twist during the interview: my screen went black, and I thought he turned off his video. I thought talking to a blank screen throughout the entire interview was just protocol, only to later discover it was due to a bad internet connection! 

I landed a job as a second-half counselor in 2016, returned for work crew, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The next two summers, I served as a senior counselor at the Timbers. Thinking my Pine Cove journey was over, I planned to attend grad school. However, a late decision led me to the Forge program!

Then in February 2020, I received an offer for the men’s director position at Crier Creek, marking the beginning of a three-year tenure. After serving as an associate director for seven or eight months, I stepped into the director position.

Favorite skit character you’ve been?
I’ve got a couple of favorite skit characters! Two stand out from this past summer and one from my summer staff days. This past summer, I was at one point Swamp Thing—picture a Shrek-like figure in overalls, covered in mud, barefoot… just a swamp creature having fun and messing with people.

During my summer staff days, I played Keith in a skit called “Evil’s Got Talent.” The twist? No heroes, just villains competing to be the worst. My character, Keith, didn’t care to be the worst—he just did each challenge in the simplest way possible. Surprisingly, he became the audience’s favorite, so day by day he wasn’t voted off and ended up winning the competition! 

Then there’s Big Belly, a character who’s been gaining popularity at Crier Creek. When the character was first created, he started as Big Eyes, then Big Brain, but eventually the winner that stuck was Big Belly with roller skates and a fake belly. Inspector Big Belly, Rodeo Clown Big Belly—each summer, it’s a different persona based on the Monday night theme. I discovered my talent for fake falling on skates, and people loved the physical comedy. Even this year, when I wasn’t planning on it, I had to bring out Big Belly due to popular demand. 

I hear you’re a huge OSU fan! What is your favorite thing about Oklahoma?
I’m a huge Oklahoma State fan, born and raised that way! Even though I attended Southwestern Oklahoma State University, a smaller D-2 school, my love for OSU remains. The best thing about Oklahoma overall is definitely the people and the loyalty. Oklahoma feels small because of the numerous connections you find in different towns—whether through mutual friends, schools, or sports teams. Everyone in Oklahoma takes pride in being an Oklahoman, embracing the state’s blue-collar history, and cheering for teams like the Sooners, Cowboys, and Thunder. While Texas is great, Oklahoma’s genuine and loyal atmosphere wins for me.

Do you have any other favorite sports or sports teams you like to root for?
When it comes to sports, I love everything about them—playing, watching, researching. College football has always been a favorite, especially OSU, but my college days expanded my appreciation for sports in general. I’m a huge Thunder fan; if I had to pick one team to watch for the rest of my life, it would be them. I also married into an Astros family, my father-in-law is a loyal Astros fan who watches every single regular season game. Baseball is a big deal in Oklahoma, but surprisingly, I never latched onto an MLB team, but I did play baseball from age three to 18.

Have you gotten used to living in Aggieland?
Can a non-Aggie ever truly get “used” to it? I do attend Aggie games, but truth be told, my wife is a Longhorn—a “Texas ex.” My family has ties to UT too, so I lean into that Longhorn blood in good fun. 

What I truly love about College Station is the amazing community we’ve found. We’ve been fortunate to find a local church that is just awesome. That has been the sweetest part of living in College Station—plugging into the church that we go to and finding a community and a group of believers that really do encourage us and spur us on in our faith. The pastor there, Philip Bethencourt, became the pastor in March of 2020. And that same summer, he lost his best friend in a tragic car accident and ended up being a camper at Crier Creek. Since then, has just been a really faithful friend and advocate for Pine Cove. He’s a phenomenal leader and a phenomenal pastor.

What are your favorite things about your wife and children?
Kendall is my best friend and the love of my life. She’s an amazing friend—loyal, passionate, and devoted to her convictions and the Lord. She’s incredibly strong, juggling being a full-time mom and employee seamlessly. Our son Pryor is resilient, amiable, and observant, making parenting a joy. His name, Pryor Hill Wallace, carries deep family and spiritual significance, symbolizing a leader on a hill in a foreign land.


What’s the story behind your camp name?
“SWO”—I went to Southwestern Oklahoma State University. “L”—they asked for an embarrassing date story but I didn’t have one. I gave my best shot at explaining an awkward situation with a girl and they said I took an “L” in that situation. “SWOLE”—they put that all together and said, “He’s a big guy, right?” “City”—I am from OKC and am a huge Thunder fan. Put that all together and you get “Swole City!”

What was your biggest takeaway from the Forge?
The Forge was a refining experience. Initially, I thought it would be a break from leadership pressure, but it taught me to strip away my perceived offerings and rely on the Lord’s gifts. It made me more cognizant of my natural presence and leadership abilities, pushing me to steward them for God’s glory, not mine.

What is the Lord teaching you right now?
Currently, Mark 6 has been on my mind. The story emphasizes finding rest in a desolate place, showing that true rest comes from Jesus. Another part focuses on recognizing moments when the glory of the Lord passes by, challenging me to not be so focused on circumstances or myself that I miss Jesus in those moments. It’s a reminder to stay attentive to His presence and not let my heart be hardened.

Posted Jan 16, 2024

Karissa Pitaniello

Content Coordinator

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