Martin moves up to head of New Oxford wrestling
Coaching wrestling is starting to come full circle for new New Oxford head coach Brian Martin.
Martin was officially approved as the Colonials coach on Nov. 9, according to athletic director Ken Shafer, giving the long-time coach his first opportunity to lead a program he's helped build.
Martin started with the New Oxford wrestling program in 1987, with roles including running offseason programs, coaching elementary school and junior high school teams, and working as an assistant coach for the high school team. He also started the school district's first traveling elementary school team. But since he doesn't work in the school system, he never applied for head high school position until it opened this season.
“He was the guy trying to turn things around by working with kids at the elementary and junior high levels, teaching them the basics and getting them ready for high school,” Shafer said. "He probably coached some of these kids' parents."
Shafer intended his last remark as a joke, but it actually could be true. Martin was an assistant coach when Bill Laughman was in high school, and now Laughman's son, Kinser, wrestles for the Colonials. Bill's other son, Lake, came up through the New Oxford system and now wrestles at York College.
“It’s neat to see that cycle come through," Martin said. "I’ve got some junior high kids whose dads I coached. We’re seeing more and more of that with the elementary kids now, with guys coming back, and it’s nice to see that.”
It's made for a smooth transition, as Martin estimates that he's coached about 80 percent of the current Colonials wrestlers since they were in elementary school.
“It’s great, I’ve got some ninth graders that I remember when their brothers were wrestling and they would come sit beside me when I was working with the elementary school," Martin said. "It’s funny to see them when they weighed 35 pounds and now they’re up here in the high school and I’m making them shave. It definitely helps that they’ve been around it for quite a few years.”
Martin rounded out his staff with his son, Zack, and former Hanover standout wrestler Derek Wolford, who won 116 matches and was a state runner-up at 195 pounds in 2012. Martin coached both of them on the youth circuit and during a three-year stint as an assistant at Hanover.
“We were kind of looking for somebody to work with our heavier kids," Martin said of Wolford. "It’s usually easy to find somebody to roll with your lighter kids, but sometimes it’s harder to find someone to roll with the heavier kids.”