She arrived at the Middle Atlantic Conference track championships in 1981 as a grad assistant, helping coach the team while studying for a master’s in education at Western Maryland (now McDaniel College). She left with a second straight gold medal in the high jump – after winning in street clothes and sneakers. And without having trained for a solid year.
Martin’s surprising, spur-of-the-moment entry – on orders from the head coach – is just a minor footnote in a career that has seen her become both the most prolific scorer and winningest coach in program history. In fact, her athletic career was so noteworthy, McDaniel inducted her into its Sports Hall of Fame in October of 2004, without the consideration of her numerous coaching accomplishments.
Martin, a multisport star at Westminster High School, became the Green Terror head coach in 1981, just a year after graduation. Entering her 37th season, she has compiled a 542-356 record. She has led the team to 18 league playoff berths, one Middle Atlantic Conference division title in 1985-86, its first-ever Centennial Conference (CC) crown and NCAA playoff berth in 2002, a feat she pulled again twice in the next three seasons. Her team posted 20-win campaigns in six straight seasons (2001-07) and advanced as far as the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament.
Despite the stretch of 20-win campaigns ending, Martin continued to add to her career accomplishments during the 2007-08 season. She joined the exclusive 400-win club, becoming the 26th Division III coach to hit that milestone.
In 2009-10, she continued another run, guiding the Green Terror to its ninth consecutive conference tournament and earned her fourth conference championship ring. After an 0-4 start, her team turned the corner and reeled off 17 consecutive victories – a stretch bettered only in 2006-07 when her team put together a program- and CC-record 19-game winning streak, capturing its first regular-season conference crown and first at-large NCAA tournament berth.
In 2013-14, Martin returned her squad to the 20-win club and once again made postseason appearances in the CC and ECAC tournaments.
A year later, Martin added a second regular-season conference crown and at-large NCAA tournament berth while joining the elite ranks of the 500-win club.
After launching her career with three losing years, Martin has endured only four more since. In 1988-89 she won the MAC Southern Division Coach of the Year award after leading then Western Maryland College to a 20-5 mark. Her 25 wins in 2003-04 and 2004-05 set a new program mark for wins in a season. The fifth win of that 2003-04 campaign made her just the 36th coach in Division III to reach the 300-win plateau. Her team also picked up the program’s 500th win during the NCAA tournament that same season.
As a 5-9 center in a career spanning from 1976 to 1980, Martin became the team’s first 1,000-point scorer (1,299), led Western Maryland College to its first conference title (1979-80) and won the division MVP award as a senior. Despite having fallen to ninth on the all-time scoring list and sixth in rebounds, Martin still holds program records for scoring average in a season (23.0 ppg in 1979-80) and career (19.1). She also still holds the mark for points in a game, scoring 39 against Ursinus in the final game of her career.
While a student-athlete, Martin helped Western Maryland win three straight conference titles in volleyball (1977-79) with records of 19-5, 30-5 and a program-record 36-3.
Martin’s experience has landed her on several committees, including the ECAC Division III Women’s Basketball Mid-Atlantic Championship Committee. She currently chairs of the CC Women’s Basketball Committee and has served as the chair of the College’s Sports Hall of Fame Committee, of which she still serves as master of ceremonies during the induction ceremony.
Life is not all coaching and committee work for Martin. She is an avid traveler and lifelong athlete. Always up for a round of golf, Martin enjoys the outdoors. She has scaled Mt. Rainier in Washington, rafted the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, biked the 180-mile C&O Canal Trail and snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef.
Her passion for travel and adventure is one that she passes on to her student-athletes. Martin has taken her basketball team and their families on a whirlwind tour of France for exhibition play and a heavy dose of sightseeing several times. Those trips included stops in Paris, Nice and Normandy.
However, Martin, a Westminster native, knows she does not need to travel overseas for exploration. Living just a short drive from the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, or the bustling city of Baltimore, Martin needs little more than the keys to her car to enjoy life to its fullest.
And enjoying life means taking chances and making good on her promises, even when it involves punching holes into her body. Trying to convince their coach during the preseason that a tattoo would be appropriate if the team won the conference, Martin bargained her self-described self-mutilation down to a cartilage ring before agreeing to the deal.
When the team made good on its half of the deal, Martin, surrounded by her team, added a ring to the top of her ear, and a Centennial ring to her hand.