Four more for Martin

Deanna Stevens

Football coach’s contract renewal gives program stability


Credit: Steve Schirra

Kent State football coach Doug Martin received his Christmas present from the athletic department early this year.

The leader of the Kent State football family has been guaranteed another four years as head of its gridiron household.

Martin’s contract was renewed Monday, which will keep him at Kent State until at least June 2010.

Martin said the amount of time on the contract will give the team stability and will be a major factor in the recruiting process.

“The main thing for me were the years on the contract,” Martin said. “Having a four-year contract, that says something to the kids we’re recruiting, that we’re going to be here for their entire career.”

With the new contract, Martin’s salary will increase from its current $140,000 per season to $170,000 in the first year. There is another guaranteed raise in the second year of the contract, which will bump Martin’s salary to $190,000.

Director of Athletics Laing Kennedy said the built-in raises will move Martin up to the middle of the Mid-American Conference coaches’ salary average. By the end of the contract, Martin will be in the top third of the MAC averages.

The updated contract includes an automatic rollover for Martin if the team has a .625 winning percentage or finishes first or second in the MAC next season.

There are also financial incentives for GPA, graduation rate, attendance and performance on the field, including a seven-win season.

In his third year with the Flashes, Martin posted the fourth-best turnaround in the nation, finishing No. 2 in the MAC East Division with a 6-6 overall and a 5-3 MAC record.

“Our program has met or exceeded our expectations in terms of attendance, in terms of academic excellence, in terms of on-field performance and we’re very pleased in the direction our program is moving under Doug’s direction,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy added that the additional four years gave the Flashes consistency at the coaching position.

“That gives us the opportunity to have Doug be the head coach for seven years,” Kennedy said. “And that kind of stability is really important to me. Personally, it’s important to Kent State.”

Martin said the administration has aided the team throughout the year, and the extension is just another step to the progress of the team.

“The key to building a program is keeping the staff in place,” he said. “Not only the head coach, but also the assistant coaches. Their commitment has been outstanding.”

Kent State defensive coordinator Pete Rekstis also received a two-year extension.

“Coach Rekstis obviously is a big key for us,” Martin said. “Pete’s done a great job with the defense. So to have a two-year contract as a coordinator is a big deal.”

The extensions are not only keeping some individual coaches in place. Martin said the stability is giving the other assistants incentive to keep the group together.

“Obviously assistant coaches’ contracts aren’t as stable as head coaches’,” he said. “That’s true all over the country. (The assistant coaches) may certainly get opportunities. As well as we’ve done, I’m sure people will pursue them. But our goal was to make it attractive enough to keep them here.”

The contract was not only important to Martin’s football family, but his immediate relatives as well.

“It’s tremendous for our family,” Martin said. “Just being around, knowing I’m going to be able to watch my son play college baseball is huge. The family is the most important thing to me.”

Martin’s son, Cory, is a left-handed pitcher from Stow-Munroe Falls High School. He will join the Flashes’ roster next year.

Martin added that he was passionate about remaining with the team and he is looking forward to the continued success of the program.

“I think that it’s important that the Kent State family knows that the head coach wants to be here,” Martin said. “This is the job that I want, this is the challenge I want. I had a great time coaching these kids this year.

“Finishing second in the MAC East, we can no longer be called the dregs of the MAC. Second place, and we’re going to do a lot better than that in the future.”

Contact football reporter Deanna Stevens at [email protected].