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Henry's Highlights
Thursday, March 4, 2004

By Henry Hinton
Broadcaster & Owner of Greenville Cable 7

Hombre in white hat lands just reward

©2004 GoPirates.com/Bonesville.net

AUDIO: Midweek Tip-Off with Henry Hinton, Mike Steele & guests Doug Martin & Greg Herenda: Select clip...

The good guys usually win in the cowboy movies. Not so in college athletics. The upside down world that promotes a win at all costs attitude creates an atmosphere in sports where good guys don’t always win.

At Kent State, however, a good guy has just won a huge one.

What a great story Doug Martin has become. Out of a job 14 months ago and unsure what was next for his family after 11 years in Greenville, Martin took a leap of faith and landed in Kent, Ohio as the offensive coordinator for Coach Dean Pees.

Last week Pees moved on to the NFL where he took a job on the defensive staff of the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots.

Immediately, rumors began to swirl that Martin, now considered an offensive genius by Kent fans, would be a slam dunk for the head job.

What Doug Martin saw was an opportunity that looked very similar to the challenge he faced ten years earlier in Greenville.

“This is a real similar job to what East Carolina was when I first got there,” said Martin in a Wednesday night interview broadcast by Cable 7 and Talk 1070 AM. “That’s one of the things that attracted me to it. We have a good blueprint for how to do it and we’re going to try and model it after what we did down there. Hopefully it will work out the same way.”

The choice of Martin as the new head man at Kent was made easy for Chancellor Carol Cartwright and Director of Athletics Laing Kennedy when 82 of the 88 players from last year’s squad marched into the administration offices and endorsed Martin.

That was a solid show of support from both the offense and the defensive units. And why not? Martin engineered the dramatic turnaround of the Kent offense in 2003.

The year before Martin’s arrival Kent State averaged 16 points a game and the Golden Flashes quarterbacks threw just six touchdown passes and 21 interceptions.

Martin brought a new scheme to the table, one that worked at ECU in the decade-plus he spent as Steve Logan’s understudy, and suddenly the offense exploded.

Last season, with Martin at the helm of the offense, the Flashes averaged 30 points per game while their quarterbacks threw 24 touchdowns and just 7 interceptions, numbers similar to most years during Martin’s years with the Pirates.

That is why the players wanted to assure the administration they are firmly behind Martin.

“That was one of the most humbling experiences I’ve ever had,” says Martin. “Even if I had not gotten the job it still would have been worth it because of what happened.”

When asked what he was going to do with the six players who didn’t get around to endorsing him to the administration, Martin is able to conjure up one of his classic dry guffaws.

“Get rid of them,” he says with a laugh. “Hopefully they were in class or something and couldn’t get over there.”

Martin’s job as head coach of a middle of the road program in the Mid-American Conference will be a challenge. He believes his training ground with some excellent mentors will help him find a way to be successful.

“I was fortunate enough to play and coach with Jerry Claiborne at Kentucky,” Martin said. “He was a guy who rebuilt three programs — Virginia Tech, Maryland and Kentucky. I learned a lot about organization, discipline and how to treat people from him.”

When he speaks of his experience as Steve Logan’s offensive coordinator at ECU, Martin’s tone almost becomes reverent as he pays homage to the guy he believes had the biggest hand in helping him attain head coaching status.

“Nobody will ever appreciate the job that he did like I do because I was there with him the whole time. I took a lot of offensive philosophies from Steve. He and I are very close, so a lot of my coaching philosophy came from him also.”

As for his days in Greenville, Martin tends to focus on the great accomplishments over the years and not dwell on what happened at the end of the Logan-Martin run with the Pirates.

“I’ll always be an East Carolina fan,” says Martin. “That place was very special to us. I would have stayed there forever. It was a great place to live and work. The community and spirit around that football program is really a unique situation. We had a great run there and I’m very appreciative of the time we had.”

Philosophical now about his old boss and the way things have turned out, Martin has developed some theories of his own that almost seem to be his road map for the future as he starts his head coaching quest.

“When you have success as a coach right now, the days of staying somewhere 10 years are gone,” Martin said. “People just get tired of you and they want a change. Or you just can’t sustain it at places like Kent State and East Carolina.

“It’s hard to keep winning every single year. You’re going to have some down years where you have to rebuild. So, you just have to keep that in perspective.”

Perhaps something positive did come out of the experience that created a new opportunity for Doug Martin.

One thing is for certain. Kent State got one of the really good guys.

Send an e-mail message to Henry Hinton.

Click here to dig into Henry Hinton's GoPirates.com archives.

02/23/2007 10:13:16 AM

 

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