Andy Martin, who led Forsyth Central’s varsity girls basketball team to its first state playoff appearance in 24 years in 2010, has resigned after five seasons as the Lady Bulldogs’ head coach.
Martin took over Central’s girls prior to the 2008-’09 season, after spending seven years as the assistant coach of the boys program. The Lady Bulldogs went 81-51 under his leadership and made three consecutive appearances in the state tournament from 2010-’12.
"Mainly, I’m at a point in my life where my kids are at an age [that] I want to coach [them]," said Martin, whose children are ages 8 and 10.
"My wife [Corey] has been wonderful. She’s very supportive of everything and she loves this job, she loves the girls and the basketball team.
"[But] Corey and the kids don’t know what it’s like to have a normal Christmas, normal Thanksgiving, that type of thing with dad around the whole time, and they deserve to experience that."
The Lady Bulldogs were coming off consecutive seasons in which they had not won a region game when Martin became head coach. Central made an immediate turnaround and went 15-8, including nine region wins, in his first season.
The Lady Bulldogs, who had not made the state playoffs since 1986, reached the Class 4A state tournament each of the next three seasons and advanced to the second round in 2012. The team finished 8-17 last season with only one senior on the roster.
"I feel like we did kind of put Forsyth Central girls basketball back on the map," Martin said.
"They had been on some really lean times for a while. ... As far as I could go back, they had not had a winning record in over 10 years.
"The previous five years they had only beat one county opponent and we went three [seasons in a row] without losing to one. We wound up 16-6 against county opponents and those are the games everybody remembers around here."
Martin credited his mentor, former Central boys basketball coach Steve Barnes, for teaching him the importance of the relational aspect of coaching. Martin said he tried to center the program around strong relationships within the team — a task that was often hardest when Central was at the peak of its success.
"It was difficult through some of those years where it seemed like everything was just about winning and getting to the next level," Martin said.
"I feel strongly that ... we [conducted the program] the right way, in a way that I firmly believe is how a program should be run. That was by building relationships, having good people, good parents and good kids to coach and just working on their development as people. ... The wins came as a result of that.
"Those relationships will last a lifetime — longer than the memory of the three state tournaments. That’s important to me."
Martin said he plans to coach at the high school level again at some point in the future, but he is not sure when that will be.
Central athletic director Mike Woodard said the school has already begun interviews to fill the vacancy and plans to have a new coach in place before summer.
"We’re very grateful for Coach Martin and what he’s done for the girls program, even before I got here," Woodard said. "He’s left his stamp on a very good program. He’s been a pleasure to work with my two years here."
It’s been a year of change at Central, which listed about 20 head coach and assistant coach positions on the prepcountry.com job board in March. In addition to the girls basketball vacancy, the Bulldogs are currently still searching for a new head softball coach and head competition cheer coach.
"We want to make sure we have a philosophy within our total athletic program," Woodard said of trying to fill a large number of vacancies at one time. "We just have to make all the pieces of the puzzle fit this time of year because there are so many people transferring or wanting to come to our school."