Eddie Martin of Greater Atlanta Christian named Student Sports National Coach of the Year. Jerome Williams won’t return as coach at Findlay Prep, Kevin Boyle will begin post-graduate team at Montverde Academy and two coaches close in on 1,000 wins.
Eddie Martin has won seven state titles as a coach and is a member of the Gwinnett County Sports Hall of Fame. He can now add another honor to his coaching resume — national coach of the year.
Martin mentored Greater Atlanta Christian (Norcross, Ga.) to a 2014 Georgia Class AA title with a 58-55 victory over Calhoun to end the season with a 32-0 mark. The Spartans finished No. 9 in the final Student Sports FAB 50 national rankings and No. 2 in the Southeast Region behind FAB 50 national champion Montverde Academy.
Martin is the Peach State’s first Student Sports National Coach of the Year honoree since Doug Lipscomb of Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.) for the 2004-05 season. The first honoree from Georgia was Don Richardson in 1978-79. He coached Southwest (Macon, Ga.) to a 28-0 mark and that team is considered one of the finest ever in the Deep South.
Martin has captured four state championships at Greater Atlanta Christian in six seasons after moving over from Norcross High. He helped build the Blue Devils into a national power and at Norcross produced individual talents such as Jodie Meeks, Gani Lawal and Al-Farouq Aminu.
His career mark at GAC is 174-19. Martin actually got his first head coaching gig at Brookwood, where he was at for 20 years before moving over to Norcross in 2001. Ironically, Martin was a head coach for 25 years before capturing his first state title in 2006. Martin won three straight Class AAAAA titles at Norcross between 2006-08, the first program to accomplish that three-peat in Georgia’s highest classification since the 1930s.
Martin’s teams have won seven state titles in the past nine seasons. The only time they didn’t was in 2009 and 2012. Martin’s teams at Brookwood were considered overachievers but with talented players such as 2014 Student Sports All-American second teamer Isaiah Wilkins, Martin has been on the the nation’s most successful coaches in the last decade.
To view the all-time Student Sports National Coach of the Year list, CLICK HERE.
Jerome Williams Out At Findlay Prep
The program at Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) will have its fourth coach in four years after Jerome Williams told the Las Vegas Review-Journal Cliff Findlay, the program’s benefactor, told the former Georgetown and NBA player in a Monday meeting the program wanted to move in a different direction with another coach.
“In my heart, I’m glad I got to do it for a year,” Williams told the Review-Journal. “I wish it could have been longer, but there’s no negativity on my end in terms of what Findlay Prep basketball is about and the education these players are getting.”
In his lone season as coach, Williams compiled a 31-5 record and the team finished No. 5 in the final Student Sports FAB 50. This past season, the Pilots struggled with chemistry caused by injuries and player defections. At the Dick’s Nationals tournament, the Pilots only had seven players available after beginning the season with 12. The season was somewhat salvaged when Findlay Prep defeated then No. 2 Rainier Beach (Seattle) in the first round of the Dick’s Nationals, but apparently it wasn’t enough for Williams to keep his job.
The expectations from Cliff Findlay and those associated with the program are extremely high. The Pilots have been FAB 50 ranked every season since they first became eligible in 2008-09. The program has produced two McDonald’s All-Americans in the same year three of the past five seasons.
At the Nike EYBL, the rumor mill was circulating that Williams would not be back, and we actually started hearing that before this year’s Dick’s Nationals. The name that keeps popping up as a prime candidate to replace Williams is Max Good, a former coach at the Division I (LMU) and Division II (Bryant University) level. Good also coached for ten seasons at post-graduate power Maine Central Institute. Another name in the rumor mill for the job is Reggie Morris Jr. of Redondo Union (Redondo Beach, Calif.)
No official word has come from Cliff Findlay or anyone associated with the program for a timetable as to when the new coach will be announced.
Montverde Academy Begins Post-Graduate Program
Kevin Boyle of Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) is one of the nation’s most successful coaches. He helped build St. Patrick’s (Elizabeth, N.J.) into a national power before the school was closed in 2011.
He’s compiled a 75-8 record in three seasons at Montverde Academy and after some close misses at St. Patrick, his last two teams have finished No. 1 in the Student Sports FAB 50. The Orlando-area school was nationally recognized under former coach Kevin Sutton (now an assistant at Georgetown University), but Boyle’s program will shoot for an unprecedented third consecutive mythical national title next season.
In addition to gunning for another mythical national title, Boyle will take on another challenge during the 2014-15 season — coaching a post-graduate team while also leading his national academy team that is eligible in national polls.
In an email distributed Tuesday, plans were announced for Boyle to field a separate prep team in addition to his national team. The national team doesn’t play for a Florida state title but follows FHSAA guidelines.
Montverde Academy is a popular destination for elite prospects and a post-graduate team will allow even more players to be part of Boyle’s program.
Some of the notables that Boyle has coached includes Student Sports All-Americans Al Harrington (1998), Corey Fisher (2007), 2011 No. 1 NBA Draft pick Kyrie Irving (2009) and 2011 Mr. Basketball USA Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Boyle was named National Coach of the Year in 2008-09 at St. Patrick when Irving and Kidd-Gilchrist led the Celtics to a 30-3 record and No. 4 FAB 50 finish.
Closing In On 1,000
In the next two seasons two coaches should surpass the 1,000 victory mark. This year, those two coaches led clubs that finished No. 2 and No. 3 in the Student Sports FAB 50, respectively.
Gary McKnight of Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) won his fourth consecutive CIF state crown and eleventh overall, a California state record. Mater Dei finished 35-0 and No. 2 in the FAB 50 behind Montverde Academy. It was the first time one of McKnight’s state championship clubs finished unbeaten.
McKnight, the 1987 National Coach of the Year when he led Mater Dei to a 31-1 mark and No. 3 ranking by USA Today, enters the 2014-15 season with a career mark of 995-85 since taking over the program in the 1982-1983 season.
Steve Smith has been the head coach of Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) since the 1985-86 season. This past season his club finished No. 3 in the FAB 50 behind No. 2 Mater Dei after losing to top-ranked Montverde Academy in the Dick’s Nationals championship game. He was named national coach of the year in 1992-93 when he finished 30-0 fielding arguably his most talented club.
This year’s 41-4 mark pushed Smith’s all-time record to 934-63. Considering his team has been playing approximately 40 games per season in recent years, Smith will surpass the 1,000 win mark sometime during the 2015-16 season.
Smith (.937) and McKnight (.921) own the highest all-time winning percentages in high school basketball history.
Among active coaches, Naismith Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley of St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) is the wins leader with a mark of 1,102-116. The coach with the most wins all-time is Robert Hughes of Texas. He compiled a 1,333-265 mark at Ft. Worth Terrell and Ft. Worth Dunbar between 1958-2005.
Terrell High School was an all-black school during the days of segregation under Jim Crow law.