ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New coach wants Las Cruces to take ownership of team
The rose-colored glasses through which Doug Martin sees life now has a crimson tint to them.
Martin turned 50 on Monday, the day he also was introduced in Las Cruces as the next New Mexico State head football coach. Last week, the school dropped the “interim” on his title and chose to give him the next opportunity to build the program.
It is a program that he insisted has “unlimited potential.”
|The Martin File|
“What we have to do is make that potential a reality. My goal is for the people of Las Cruces to take ownership of this football team. … We have an opportunity to captivate people.”
NMSU athletic director McKinley Boston said Monday that Martin, a native of Oak Ridge, Tenn., will receive a four-year contract worth $365,000 annually. It was a deal hurriedly reworked after Martin was picked to succeed DeWayne Walker, who resigned last month to accept an assistant coaching position with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars.
Just prior to Walker’s departure, Martin had returned to Las Cruces to prep for his second stint as offensive coordinator. After his first, a largely successful 2011 season, he moved to Boston College to run its offense.
During the 2011 season, the Martin-run Aggies offense ranked 47th nationally in total yardage and 26th in passing yardage behind dual-threat quarterback Matt Christian. Highlights of that season were first-ever wins over a Big Ten program (Minnesota) and Fresno State.
But the Aggies skidded to 1-11 in 2012, ending Walker’s four-year run over the program at 10-40.
Boston said he had interviewed four candidates since Walker’s departure, and that while all showed various degrees of enthusiasm for Aggies football, Martin’s “desire to be here was one of the things that impressed me the most. He wants to be part of this community.”
It also didn’t hurt that Martin has head coaching experience at a so-called midmajor (29-53 in seven years at Kent State), familiarity with many on the current staff and in NMSU administration, and had the outspoken support of several of the current players.
Continuity had to weigh in Martin’s favor so close to signing day as well. He said Aggie assistants got on planes to visit recruits last week and persuade them to stick with NMSU. There was apparent success; Martin believes a “great announcement” is coming on Wednesday, the first signing day, with at least 24 new recruits.
Martin says NMSU has “a lot more resources” and thus, a higher ceiling, than the program he stewarded at Kent State. He said he is confident he has the resources to make quality hires for three openings on the Aggies football staff – offensive coordinator, tight ends coach, and outside linebackers coach. However, he has not ruled out being a game-day play-caller if he doesn’t get the right coordinator.
There also is the matter of the Aggies being without a football league; the 2012 season was the last in that sport for the Western Athletic Conference.
Common wisdom suggests that in the long term, the Aggies will have to find a football league to maintain a football program. But in the meantime, Martin said that playing as an independent, as NMSU will do in 2013, wasn’t a deterrent in recruiting.
Unlike virtually every other school in the country, New Mexico State hasn’t yet announced its 2013 schedule in full. School officials say they are waiting on signed on contracts before making it official.
But Martin pointed to some of the 2013 opponents – Texas, UCLA, Boston College and Minnesota – and said, “what helped us recruit was the difficult schedule. (Recruits) want to play against the best competition, and quite honestly, if they didn’t, I wouldn’t want them here.”
Full Name: Doug Martin
Birthdate: Feb. 4, 1963
Wife: Vicki. Children: Molly, Cory and Bobby
Education: University of Kentucky, 1985, B.S. History
Playing career: Kentucky 1981-84 as QB and special teams
Boston College, 2012 (offensive coordinator)
New Mexico State, 2011 (offensive coordinator)
Kent State, 2004-10 (head coach, record of 29-53)
East Carolina, 1992-02 (assistant coach, offensive coordinator)
East Tennessee State, 1988-91 (assistant coach, then offensive coordinator)
University of Kentucky, 1986-87 (graduate assistant)
— This article appeared on page D3 of the Albuquerque Journal