For Greene County News
CEDARVILLE — Cedarville University women’s basketball Head Coach Kirk Martin has decided he will step down after the upcoming season.
The school immediately announced that one of Martin’s former players and current assistant coach, Kari Hoffman, will assume the role of head coach effective July 1, 2016.
“This is the right time for me,” Martin explained. “I have thoroughly enjoyed coaching at my alma mater and love what this place means to me.
“I’m bolder in my faith because of my experience here. I’ve received support and enthusiasm from countless people on and off the court and I’m so grateful for that.
“Our alumni will be thrilled with the selection of Kari as the next head coach. It’s important that our recruiting class is aware and I’m confident she will do a great job in the future.”
A 1976 graduate of then Cedarville College, Martin, 61, is the winningest coach in the history of Lady Jacket basketball. He enters his 15th year at the helm with 358 career victories – an average of 25.6 per season.
Prior to Martin’s arrival for the 2001-02 schedule, the Lady Jackets had won 20 games in a season twice. He has accomplished the feat 12 times including back-to-back 35-win campaigns in 2004 and 2005.
During Martin’s tenure, Cedarville has made 12 national tournament appearances with one NCCAA banner and two NAIA Division II runner-up finishes. His teams have won seven conference championships.
Following an extraordinary run in the NAIA that featured the Lady Jackets dominating the American Mideast Conference, Martin successfully navigated the transition to the NCAA four years ago.
Last season, the Lady Jackets went 27-4 and were ranked as high as 17th in the USA TODAY Sports Division II Coaches Poll. They won the Great Midwest Athletic Conference regular season with a 15-1 mark, copped the G-MAC Tournament trophy, and then made their first-ever NCAA appearance with an at-large bid.
A six-time conference Coach of the Year, Martin has been able to attract some of the best players the school has ever had including his successor, Kari (Flunker) Hoffman. She was the school’s first three-time All-American and a two-time conference Player of the Year.
“The program is always about honoring the Lord,” Martin stressed. “‘Keep the main thing, the MAIN thing.’ Then, it’s about the players. We are going to spend this year focusing on our four seniors and their legacy. That’s our goal. This year is not about a farewell tour or a new beginning. It’s about winning the G-MAC and advancing this year in the NCAA tournament.
“All of my current and former players make coming to work every day a joy. Words can never express my love, gratitude, and respect I have for them.”
Martin came to the University after developing nearby South Charleston Southeastern High School into one of Ohio’s elite Division IV girls basketball programs. His resume featured a 297-34 record in 13 seasons with one state championship, one state runner-up, and 11 conference titles including a phenomenal 162-game winning streak within the league.
Hoffman was a freshman on Martin’s first team at Cedarville and helped to turn the Lady Jackets into a perennial powerhouse during her career from 2001-05.
The Florence, Wis. native is the school’s second all-time leading scorer with 2,275 points. She still ranks no. 1 for the Lady Jackets in games played (142), three-pointers made (338), three-point field goal percentage (.458), and assists (644).
Hoffman, 32, has been an assistant coach with the Lady Jackets since 2010 leading up to what will be her first head coaching position. Prior to returning to Cedarville, she was the Director of Women’s Basketball Operations for two seasons at NCAA Division I Green Bay.