Insights and Observations
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
By Henry Hinton
Martin making his mark
building a program
Former ECU offensive coordinator
Doug Martin is not just a 'Flash' in the pan as head coach at Kent State
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TALK 1070 ARCHIVES:
the replay of Tuesday's Talk of the Town with
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the replay of Tuesday Tailgate, including
a segment with former ECU offensive coordinator
current Kent State head coach Doug Martin:
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Leaving East Carolina was
difficult for Doug Martin. Serving on Steve Logan’s staff for ten years,
Martin had become very comfortable. The abrupt end to that era shut a door
immediately and now Martin is the head coach at Kent State University in
“I was so comfortable at
East Carolina, I probably would have never left,” Martin said last night on
Talk 1070’s "Tuesday Tailgate" show.
Talking to co-hosts Kevin
Miller and Mike Steele, the former Pirate offensive coordinator described
what it has been like to build a Kent program that has languished in the
Mid-American Conference for years with little success.
“The problem here, unlike
when we were at East Carolina, is they have not had success here before,”
said Martin. “Building confidence and leadership in this team were the first
things. After that the other things started falling into place.”
Kent State is known more
for the famous on-campus National Guard shooting in the 'seventies (Remember
Neal Young’s song “Four Dead in Ohio”?) than for its athletics. The program
has had just two winning seasons since 1987. The last conference
championship came in 1972.
The 2006 season is
Martin’s third and all of a sudden his team is making some noise. After an
opening season home loss to Minnesota and an overtime loss to Army at West
Point, Martin’s Flashes have caught fire and reeled off five wins in a row.
With home games left with
Ohio and Eastern Michigan and road games at Ball State, Buffalo and Virginia
Tech, the possibility of a bowl game and a MAC championship is becoming very
real. Martin is now the toast of the town.
Kent State’s season is
already marked with some earthshaking events that could be program-changing.
For instance, the Flashes beat Bowling Green, a perennial MAC powerhouse, on
the road for the first time since 1972.
“That was the worst loss
they have ever had in that stadium,” Martin said. “That was a big deal for
us since they have been to bowl games and won the conference a lot.”
The Flashes also defeated
Miami (OH) for the first time since 1988, and last week got an impressive
40-14 victory over Toledo. The week before that, Martin’s team thrashed its
closest rival, Akron, which is just fourteen miles away, by a score of
37-15. Yes, that is the same Akron team that beat N.C. State earlier this
The Toledo game pitted
two former Pirate coordinators against each other. Former ECU defensive
boss, Tim Rose, is now the coordinator at Toledo.
Asked if he was able to
take advantage of what he knew about Rose’s defensive style and strategy,
Martin laughed and said it was a double-edged sword for them both.
“That helped us but, then
again, Tim knew what we were doing, too. We are running the exact offense we
ran at East Carolina, so it works both ways,” said Martin. “We matched up
well with Toledo, though, so it was a great win.”
Martin has taken
advantage of relationships he built in Greenville to the betterment of his
program at Kent. Former ECU assistant coaches Jerry McManus and Terry
Tilghman have followed Martin to KSU, as has former Pirate receiving great
Jason Nichols, who coaches the Flashes' wideouts.
McManus was the one coach
retained off Steve Logan’s staff by John Thompson at ECU. After one year,
however, he moved north to reunite with Martin as his assistant head coach
and running backs coach.
“Jerry does a great job
of recruiting,” said Martin. “He knows exactly what our offense is supposed
to do. All of those guys have really worked out well.”
McManus still recruits
North Carolina and was responsible for the luring to Kent State of former
Greenville Rose quarterback Lenaric Muldrow, who led his high school team to
a state championship two years ago.
“He (Muldrow) is going to
be a dynamic player for us,” said Martin. “He injured his knee early and he
is red-shirting this year, but we have him as a punt returner and receiver
in the same style as Jason Nichols. Jason is working with him and he is
going to be really good.”
As Martin enters the
second half of his season, his squad's 5-2 record sets the stage for the
biggest opportunity of his young head coaching career, but he has not
forgotten his roots.
“I love Greenville,” says
Martin. “We had so many great years there and I owe Steve Logan a lot. It
was the best thing that ever happened to me working for him. A lot of what
we’re doing, I learned from him.”
With Martin’s background
and offensive mind, it was only a matter of time before he found success.
Even though he now dons the blue and gold each Saturday instead of the
purple and gold, one gets the feeling he still feels as though he is a
In return, there are many
Pirates who continue to be Doug Martin fans. It will be interesting to see
how the Kent State season ends.
One thing is for sure,
the job Martin has done at KSU is putting people on notice that he is an up
and comer in the college football coaching world.
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This page updated
04/21/08 07:06 PM.