Jan. 5, 2010
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Chuck Martin, who led Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich., to two NCAA Division II national championships and won over 91 percent of his games as the Lakers’ head coach, has been hired as defensive backs coach at the University of Notre Dame, Irish head football coach Brian Kelly announced Tuesday.
Martin has been head coach at Grand Valley State since 2004. He replaced Kelly as the Lakers’ head coach after Kelly was named head coach at Central Michigan University. Under Martin’s watch, Grand Valley went 74-7 (.914) and won the NCAA Division II national championship in 2005 and 2006. The Lakers were runners-up in 2009.
He helped guide the Lakers to five Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletics Conference championships in six years and he posted a 16-4 record in the Division II playoffs. Martin’s .914 winning percentage was the second best among active college football coaches, regardless of division (Mount Union’s Larry Kehres owns a .925 winning percentage). A member of the Lakers coaching staff since 2000, Martin helped Grand Valley State post a 122-13 record this decade, including winning 121 of its last 130 games.
Since he became head coach in 2004, Martin helped develop 34 players who earned various All-America honors and 114 players who earned all-GLIAC plaudits, including 56 first-team selections. The Lakers were ranked number one in the American Football Coaches Association Coaches Poll for 56 of 70 weeks the poll was released during Martin’s tenure. From 2004 to 2009, Martin directed Grand Valley State to 48 consecutive regular-season victories and 45 straight wins in GLIAC action. He also guided the Lakers to a Division II record 40-game winning streak from 2005-07.
This past season, Martin guided the Lakers to a 13-2 record and the school’s fifth consecutive GLIAC championship. Grand Valley State also made its ninth straight NCAA Division II playoff appearance and advanced to the national championship game for the third time in five seasons (falling to Northwest Missouri State, 30-23). It marked the sixth time since 2001 the Lakers had advanced to the NCAA Division II finals. Grand Valley State finished the season ranked second in the AFCA poll and D2Football.com national rankings. Five of Martin’s players received All-America accolades, while 10 Lakers were named first-team all-GLIAC.
The 2008 team turned in its fourth straight undefeated regular season and finished the year with an 11-1 record. The Lakers claimed their fourth consecutive GLIAC title and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Division II playoffs before falling to eventual national champion Minnesota-Duluth in double overtime. Seven players earned All-America honors while 22 were named all-GLIAC.
Martin’s 2007 squad cruised through the regular season undefeated and led the GLIAC in scoring defense (14.5 points per game), total defense (303.6 yards per game), pass efficiency defense (95.6) and quarterback sacks (42). The Lakers advanced to the national semifinals but were defeated at Northwest Missouri State. Four Lakers earned consensus All-America accolades and 20 players earned all-GLIAC honors.
Martin claimed his second national championship and Grand Valley State’s fourth title in 2006 after the Lakers defeated Northwest Missouri State for the second straight year, 17-14. The win capped off a perfect 15-0 season that saw Grand Valley State outscore its GLIAC foes by an average score of 37.1-14.6. Seven players were named All-Americans including five consensus first-teamers, and 21 Lakers were tabbed all-GLIAC.
In his second season as a head coach, Martin guided the Lakers to an undefeated season (13-0) and their third national championship. Martin directed Grand Valley State to wins over two top-five teams during the regular season and then defeated four ranked opponents in the playoffs. The Lakers knocked off Northwest Missouri State 21-17 in the title game. The 2005 Lakers held 11 of 13 opponents to 17 points or less and outscored their opponents 434-159. Eight players received All-America honors while 18 Lakers were named all-GLIAC.
Martin led Grand Valley State to a 10-3 mark and a berth in the NCAA Division II playoffs in his first season at the helm in 2004. The 10 wins by Martin were the most of any first-year head coach in school history. The 2004 squad advanced to the quarterfinal round of the playoffs and finished the season ranked ninth in the nation.
Prior to being named head coach, Martin was an assistant at Grand Valley State for four years. He was a key figure in the progression of the Lakers’ defense that saw the secondary earn 10 all-GLIAC honors in four years. Safety Scott Mackey benefitted from Martin’s coaching as he was named GLIAC Defensive Back of the Year and a first-team All-American in 2002 and 2003. The Lakers’ defensive backs intercepted 84 passes from 2000-03, including a school single-season record 26 interceptions in both 2001 and 2003. Fourteen of those 84 interceptions were returned for touchdowns.
Martin was the defensive coordinator under Kelly in 2003 and helped the Lakers to the national championship. Grand Valley State rode its defense to the title as it limited its final three opponents in the playoffs to just a field goal apiece. The Lakers ranked in the top 10 nationally in four defensive categories in 2003, including a rushing defense that yielded only 64.9 yards per game, tops in the nation. Grand Valley State ranked first in the nation with 43 turnovers forced and allowed 13.3 points per game, third best in the country.
Prior to Grand Valley State, Martin coached the linebackers at Eastern Michigan in 1998 and 1999. He served as the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach from 1996-97 at Millikin University, his alma mater, in Decatur, Ill. Prior to Millikin, Martin coached the linebackers at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, from 1994-95. While at Wittenberg, he also served as the head golf coach and an assistant baseball coach. Martin’s initial coaching duty came in 1992 as a graduate assistant at Mankato State University in Mankato, Minn.
Martin was an All-America safety at Millikin and was also selected a GTE Academic All-American. He also doubled as an all-conference placekicker for the football team and received academic all-district honors for Millikin’s basketball team. Martin graduated from Millikin in 1990 with a degree in accounting. He was inducted into the Millikin Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008.
A native of Park Forest, Ill., Martin was born Jan. 8, 1968, and graduated from Rich East High School in Park Forest in 1986. He and his wife Dulcie have two sons (Max and Aidan) and one daughter (Emma).
THE MARTIN FILEYear School Assignment1992-93 Mankato State (Minn.) Graduate Assistant1994-95 Wittenberg (Ohio) Linebackers1996-97 Millikin (Ill.) Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs1998-99 Eastern Michigan Linebackers2000-02 Grand Valley State Defensive Backs2003 Grand Valley State Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs2004-09 Grand Valley State Head Coach2010 Notre Dame Defensive Backs