College Hoops: Missouri Western men's team turns to BGA grad Martin

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Will Martin

Will Martin 

Missouri Western didn’t have to look far to find a new men’s basketball coach.

Will Martin, a Franklin-native and Battle Ground Academy graduate, was hired as the sixth coach in the history of the program this weekend. He was announced as the head coach officially at press conference Monday. 

"I'm all in," Martin said Monday. "I'm all in on these players. I'm all in on this community; this program. And I'm all in on what we are going to do here.

"I'm so humbled and grateful for the opportunity." 

Missouri Western State University Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics Dr. Josh Looney said he is also "all in" on Martin's vision to continue the rise of the men's basketball program.

"Will Martin has been a critical leader for the dramatic shift in culture, competitiveness and community support MWSU men's basketball has experienced over the past two years," Looney said in a press release. "The current momentum in our program is powerful and Will has all of the characteristics and experiences to lead us to our ultimate goals."

Martin recruited a pair of locals this past season at Missouri Western, a NCAA Division II school located in St. Joseph, Mo. 

Fellow BGA graduate and former Lipscomb star Nate Moran joined the staff for the 2019-20 season as a graduate assistant coach. On the floor, former Franklin Rebel Reese Glover, a freshman, emerged as a key contributor off the bench.

Glover, who guided Franklin to its first state tournament appearance in decades as a senior last year, averaged 22 minutes per game this season and was fourth on the team in scoring with 10.1 points per outing. He also shot a team-best 42 percent from 3-point range.

Missouri Western finished with a 18-14 record this year under head coach Sundance Wicks. It was the school's first wining record since 2010. Wicks resigned on last Wednesday to become an assistant at Wyoming. Martin served as an assistant coach for both seasons of Wicks’ tenure. Missouri Western went 6-21 in 2017-18 prior to the two arriving on campus.  

Martin, who graduated from BGA in 2007, earned his bachelors from the University of Kentucky. As an undergraduate at Kentucky, Martin served as the men’s basketball manager and was the head manager when the Wildcats won the 2012 title. He forged a lasting friendship with eventual No. 1 NBA pick Anthony Davis at Kentucky and ultimately became his trainer in New Orleans.

Davis was among the many who took to social media Saturday night and into the early morning hours Sunday to congratulate Martin.

“You guys have a guy who cares and who is going to push the guys everyday to be great,” Davis said on Twitter. “Know you’re gonna do great things there. Well deserved brotha!”

Martin's first coaching gig was as an assistant at Martin Methodist in Tennessee where he also served as the director of athletic admissions. The 31-year-old was the director of basketball operations at the University of San Francisco prior. His graduate work included being a graduate assistant and video coordinator at The University of Tulsa from 2013-15. He also received his Master's in education at Tulsa.

This will be Martin’s first head-coaching job.

“I’m living in a dream,” Martin said on social media early Sunday morning.

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