The New Mexico State head coach’s name might sound familiar to some of Kentucky’s older fans. The Aggies’ head coach, Doug Martin, played quarterback at for Kentucky from 1981-1984.
After tearing up his knee during his sophomore season, Kentucky head coach Jerry Claiborne offered Martin a student coaching job during his last season of eligibility. It’s been 16 years since Claiborne’s death, but Martin says the memories of his college coach live with him everyday.
“The first thing was character,” Martin says. “You’re going to win with character and your character will get exposed in stressful situations. He always coached us to that.”
Martin took over a New Mexico State program that in rough sport. The Aggies were facing academic penalties and last bowl appearance came in 1960, the longest drought in the FBS.
“It’s not the easiest way to go, I can tell you that,” Martin says. “There’s a lot of work that has to be done and you’ve got to go through some losing to get there.”
Claiborne believed in Martin and really worked to develop him as coach. Martin credits Claiborne as the person who shaped him into the man and coach he is today.
“Everybody has the dream to emulate the guy that they think is their mentor,” Martin says. “I wanted to emulate him.”
Read SEC Country’s full story the relationship between Martin and Claiborne here.