On a day when Penn lost talented basketball coach Mike Martin to Brown, the school softened the blow by hiring Robin Martin to be the permanent men’s track and field coach.
Robin Martin, a star runner for the Quakers in the late 1990s, had been running the track team on an interim basis since longtime coach Charlie Powell retired suddenly last December but always seemed like the smart choice to remain in charge.
In the interviews I’ve had with him, Martin has been enthusiastic, friendly, professional and extremely ambitious, talking often about how he’s bringing in an extra-dynamic recruiting class to Penn this fall and how he believes the Quakers can – and should – become one of the nation’s premier track programs, just as they were throughout the early part of the 20th century.
Here is the statement Martin made upon hearing the news of his promotion:
“It is such an honor and a privilege to be the James P. Tuppeny Head Coach of Men’s Track & Field. The history, the unrivaled education, and the possibilities for national-level excellence make Penn an amazing opportunity for a coach. To be able to share a vision for success with a passionate administration is the icing on the cake. I would like to thank Steve Bilsky for his confidence, and his trust. My staff and I are driven to bring this program back to national prominence. We are going to do some great things here.”
And then there’s the other Martin, who’s returning to Brown – where he starred as a basketball player from 2000-2004 – after serving as an assistant coach at Penn for the past six years.
Mike Martin always seemed like a perfect hire for Brown, not only because he played there during one of the team’s best stretches but because he proved his chops in the same league as a quality recruiter and tactician. And the fact that he managed to stay at Penn, even after the firing of Glenn Miller – who brought him from Brown to Penn – speaks to his character and determination. No one ever thought of him as “the Brown guy.” He was simply a very good coach who drew up brilliant plays like this one. (Click on the link and watch the video. Trust me.)
Here is a (very warm) statement on Martin’s departure from men’s basketball coach Jerome Allen, who now has two holes to plug on his coaching staff:
“I am extremely happy for Mike and his family; his hiring is a well-deserved. Mike has done the University of Pennsylvania a great service for the last six years, and it is only right that he get the opportunity to run his own program. As I have learned the last three years, it is a special opportunity to oversee a program that you once played in, and I know that Mike will embrace that opportunity at Brown. With the exception of two times each season, I wish Mike nothing but the best of success.”
You can read more comments on Martin here.