Basketball coach scores 400th win

March 25, 2008

Family. It’s the word Head Coach Becky Martin uses to describe the close-knit nature of the women’s basketball team. So it was fitting that teammates, former players and their families took Martin out to a celebratory dinner when she won her 400th game Feb. 16.

“It’s a great milestone, but it’s not about me,” says Martin, the winningest coach in program history. “It’s about the athletes in uniform, representing the College. And, it’s about the coaching assistants.”

It was fortuitous timing. The win came during the last home game of the season, played against Washington College, and on the day the team recognized the achievements of graduating seniors Courtney Gogolinski and Robbin Gregg.

“The final home game of the season was a great win for our season, the seniors and for Coach's career,” says Gogolinksi. “We were just happy that we could make it a memorable one, since this year has been a struggle with many ups and downs. The win gave everyone something to smile about and celebrate.”

Although the team went on to the conference playoffs, they lost in the first round. But in the past seven years, they have won three conference championships and have four NCAA tournament appearances.

At this milestone in her career, Martin took the time to look back at her humble beginnings. When she became the Green Terror head coach in 1981, only a year after graduation, she imagined her future successes, but thought they’d arrive immediately.

“When I was starting out as a young coach, we took our knocks,” she said of her losses in the first three years. “The first year I took over, I had grand ideas that I could change the world, and we ended with a 3-16 record. We were getting beat by 40 points. You question your capabilities as a coach. But the next year we were only losing by 20 points. Little by little, we improved.”

Martin went on to lead the team to 12 league playoff berths, one Middle Atlantic Conference division title in 1986, its first-ever Centennial Conference (CC) crown and NCAA playoff berth in 2002, a feat she pulled again each of the next two seasons. After that 22-win season, her teams went on to post 20-win campaigns in each of the next five years and advanced as far as the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament.

“Some of the best compliments we hear from coaches are that our kids play selflessly,” she says. “I’ve had some amazing student-athletes. They play with their hearts, they are intense, and they leave it on the court. When you do that, good things happen.”

Every year, Martin dedicates a great deal of time to recruiting new student-athletes. Beyond their abilities on the court, she looks for a good academic and personal fit.

“I’m always excited about students who are joining the program, and I want to help them grow to their full potential over the next four years,” she says. “I enjoy seeing who young people are as freshmen and how they have grown by the time they walk across the stage to receive their diploma. Being part of that is very special.”

When this year’s seniors graduate, they’ll be looking for Martin’s face in the crowd, to thank her for her impact on their college careers and beyond.

“(Coach Martin) helped me grow as a person… she helped me learn and appreciate the importance of sacrifice and hard work, which will carry over to my future life,” says Gogolinski.