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Martin done adding up wins

July 08, 1998|By MARK KELLER

Twenty-five years is a long time to do something you hadn't intended to do in the first place.

Just ask Jim Martin, who recently stepped down as St. Maria Goretti boys soccer coach after a quarter of a century.

"I like 25 years better. A quarter of a century doesn't sound as nice," Martin said with a laugh. "Either way, it's a long time and I never did plan it."

--cont from sports--

Martin became the program's second coach in 1973, its second year of existence. Jim Churchill got the soccer program rolling the year before, with Martin serving as his assistant.

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"(Churchill) saw some potential athletes there, got a 12-game schedule and wound up coaching," Martin said. "I promised to coach the team the next year, but I didn't think it would happen."

Martin lived up to his promise, taking over the job after Churchill gave it up following Goretti's inaugural season. And even though he says he never planned to run the team, the length of his coaching tenure illustrates how much he enjoyed it.

Martin compiled a 244-133-25 record at Goretti. He couldn't point to a single season as his finest, but certainly the program's best years were 1985-88, when the Gaels went 57-10-3, including a 19-1 mark in 1986.

"It was a lot of fun and we had some good kids. We had a pretty long stretch with some very good players," Martin said. "You don't do something that long if you don't like it."

Martin, 50, started as a student teacher at Goretti in the spring of 1969. He was hired full-time in the fall of that year and has taught mathematics at the school ever since.

Martin will continue to coach the Gaels softball team and work as a statistician for the boys basketball team.

He says he will take the time he would have used for soccer practices and put it to work in the classroom preparing his students for math competitions.

"I never had the time to prepare them for that before. Now I will have the time to help the kids see how far they can go with math."

Being away from the soccer pitch should also help Martin's pitch. He sings "The Star-Spangled Banner" before each of Goretti's home boys basketball games.

"I'm usually out of voice until the middle of December from all that yelling out there," said Martin, who also particpates in the school's musicals and chorus performances. "This ought to help."

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