Becky Martin ’80 has announced that she will take an indefinite medical leave from the sidelines of the McDaniel College women’s basketball program and her administrative duties.
With Martin’s decision, Director of Athletics Paul Moyer has tabbed former assistant coach Rick Little to return to the staff as interim head coach. Alyssa March ’16 will serve as associate head coach, which will include handling the day-to-day activities in the office. Longtime assistant coaches Phil Popielski and Jerry Georgiana will also remain on staff.
“While Becky is taking care of herself, we thought it was important – first and foremost out of respect to her and the program she has built – to provide as much continuity for our women’s basketball student-athletes as possible,” Moyer said. “Rick has the experience as a head coach and understands the Green Terror program. Alyssa has been an important part of the program over the last six years and has done an outstanding job working with Becky recently. Phil and Jerry have been for a number of years and also understand the current team. The staff currently in place is what’s best for McDaniel, our student-athletes and the women’s basketball program. Our sincerest thoughts and prayers continue to be with Becky.”
“Because I am dealing with some personal medical issues I have had to step away from the day-to-day operations of the program,” Martin said. “I am confident my assistants will step in and do a tremendous job, assuring the program continues to move forward; the players have a quality experience and the program philosophies we have built over the years will continue.”
Little, who was an assistant on Martin’s staff from 2013-16, brings 22 years of high school coaching experience to the bench. In addition to coaching at Walkersville High School, Little has coached for the Glade Valley Athletic Association and Woodsboro Recreation Council, where he also served as Council President. Rick was a driving force behind the creation of the AAU program in the Walkersville/Woodsboro community.
March played in 95 games, starting 45 times over her final two healthy seasons, over her career as a player. She averaged 9.0 points per game and 7.0 rebounds per game as a junior before missing the 2015-16 season with an injury. She returned as a grad student in 2016-17 and averaged 8.2 points per game and 7.6 rebounds per game. She shot 40.5 percent from the floor and 73.5 percent from the free-throw line during her final season.
March has remained at McDaniel to be part of the Green Terror staff as an assistant coach beginning last season.
Martin took over the reins of the women’s basketball program in 1981 and has been a staple on the Green Terror sideline for the 37 seasons since. With a 554-369 record, she is the winningest coach in Centennial Conference (CC) history.
“McDaniel College and McDaniel Basketball are special to me and to the many outstanding student-athletes we have had come through our program,” Martin added. “I want to ensure that remains the case for the young women we have developing in our program during this interim period. We expect a great deal from our players not only athletically, but personally and academically and our standard of excellence will not change.”
Martin, a multisport star at Westminster High School, has led the Green Terror to 18 league playoff berths, one Middle Atlantic Conference division title in 1985-86, its first-ever CC crown and NCAA playoff berth in 2002, a feat she pulled again twice in the next three seasons. Her team posted 20-win campaigns in six straight seasons (2001-07) and advanced as far as the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament.
During the 2007-08 season, Martin joined the exclusive 400-win club, becoming the 26th Division III coach to hit that milestone.
In 2009-10, she continued another run, guiding the Green Terror to its ninth consecutive conference tournament and earned her fourth conference championship ring. After an 0-4 start, her team turned the corner and reeled off 17 consecutive victories – a stretch bettered only in 2006-07 when her team put together a program- and CC-record 19-game winning streak, capturing its first regular-season conference crown and first at-large NCAA tournament berth.
In 2013-14, Martin returned her squad to the 20-win club and once again made postseason appearances in the CC and ECAC tournaments. A year later, Martin added a second regular-season conference crown and at-large NCAA tournament berth while joining the elite ranks of the 500-win club.
In 1988-89 she won the MAC Southern Division Coach of the Year award after leading then Western Maryland College to a 20-5 mark. Her 25 wins in 2003-04 and 2004-05 set a new program mark for wins in a season.
As a 5-9 center in a career spanning from 1976 to 1980, Martin became the team’s first 1,000-point scorer (1,299), led Western Maryland College to its first conference title (1979-80) and won the division MVP award as a senior. Martin still holds program records for scoring average in a season (23.0 ppg in 1979-80) and career (19.1). She also still holds the mark for points in a game, scoring 39 against Ursinus in the final game of her career.
While a student-athlete, Martin helped Western Maryland win three straight conference titles in volleyball (1977-79) with records of 19-5, 30-5 and a program-record 36-3.
Martin’s experience has landed her on several committees, including the ECAC Division III Women’s Basketball Mid-Atlantic Championship Committee. She has chaired the CC Women’s Basketball Committee and the College’s Sports Hall of Fame Committee, of which she served as master of ceremonies during the induction ceremony for many years.
Life is not all coaching and committee work for Martin. She is an avid traveler and lifelong athlete. Always up for a round of golf, Martin enjoys the outdoors. She has scaled Mt. Rainier in Washington, rafted the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, biked the 180-mile C&O Canal Trail and snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef.
Her passion for travel and adventure is one she passes on to her student-athletes. Martin has taken her basketball team and their families on whirlwind tours of France for exhibition play and a heavy dose of sightseeing numerous times over a 30 year span. Those trips included stops in Paris, Nice and Normandy.
“I want to thank all those who have reached out with their thoughts and prayers during this time,” Martin noted. “In addition, I would ask the community to continue to come out and support Green Terror Women’s Basketball in my absence. I am confident both our coaches and student-athletes will continue to earn your respect and appreciate it.”
On the administrative side, Kim Easterday, who has been a part of the department for more than four decades, including as the director of operations since 2012, will assume the role of senior woman administrator in Martin’s absence. The senior woman administrator is the highest-ranking female in each NCAA athletics department or conference office. The purpose of the SWA designation is to promote meaningful representation of women in the leadership and management of college sports.
Easterday has coached swimming and women’s lacrosse in the department in addition to serving as aquatics director before her current position.
The Green Terror women’s basketball season opens the season at Wesley on Saturday, Nov. 10.
Photo Courtesy: David Sinclair/McDaniel CollegeDIII