Ask most Kentucky fans about the name Doug Martin, and I think the large majority of them will think you are talking about the Tampa Bay running back who had a breakout year last season. But I want you to consider a Doug Martin that should have more a significance to Kentucky fans: New Mexico State Head Coach Doug Martin. Why should you care about Martin? Well, he is the only Division 1-A head coach that is also an UK alumnus. And yet, what percentage of Cats fans ever know about that fact. Less than 10-percent?
Now the reason is fairly simple. First, Martin’s time as Kentucky quarterback was not exactly illustrious in the early 1980’s. In fact, his bio on the NMSU website says that Martin was a “part-time starter” at Kentucky, and that injuries limited him to holding duties. So, for those fans who actually followed the program in the 1980’s, you probably don’t even know that Martin existed. But, he also took a job west of the Mississippi at one of the programs that is struggling the most in Division 1. It is Martin’s 1st year, but the Aggies went 1-11 last year and have opened up this season 0-2. So, not much TV coverage coming the Aggies way either.
But here is my question: how much are we to cheer for UK alumni who are coaching at other schools? Obviously, NMSU is not a rival of Kentucky, so there is no harm there. But, it seems like nobody cares to follow Martin’s career. Is it simply the idea that once you leave Lexington, you are out of sight, out of mind? Or is it just that Martin is not at a program where people even knew he was a head coach. Martin was the head coach at Kent State from 2004-2010 and I don’t remember fans mentioning him then either. Does it require him going to a bigger program? Or are we to never cheer for an opposing coach?
So, what are we to do? Should the Big Blue Nation get behind Martin and his struggling program? Do we stand beside a Wildcat on his career path, even if it never gets him back to Kentucky? I argue absolutely, unless he goes to Louisville. But some may disagree.