James Martin is Northwestern’s head football coach.
Not the interim, the real one.
Martin’s promotion to full-time head coach was announced in a press release from Northwestern athletic director Lauren West Tuesday afternoon. Martin had served as the program’s interim coach since Sept. 19 when former head coach David Pierce and offensive coordinator Robert Hellams were fired five games into the 2017 season.
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Northwestern won five of its seven games with Martin as the interim head coach. The Trojans blasted Laurens in the first round of the 5A state playoffs, before falling to Gaffney in the second round.
The head coaching position wasn’t listed on the Rock Hill School District jobs website until 40 days after the season ended. And Martin’s position seemed to strengthen the longer the school went into 2018 without any news about a new hire.
Back in December, West spoke about the job Martin and the rest of the coaching staff did during the unexpected midseason transition.
“I thought that the entire staff responded as well as I’ve ever seen a staff respond to adversity,” West said. “And because of how well that staff responded I thought our kids responded. You never enter into a season anticipating things like that, but I cannot speak enough to the way that that entire staff responded.”
The Northwestern gig is Martin’s second as a head coach.
He was previously the top man at Charlotte’s South Mecklenburg High School from 2006 to 2011. He rebuilt a Sabres program that had struggled prior to his arrival, taking them to the 2008 North Carolina 4A state semifinals. Martin left South Meck to become the defensive coordinator at Northwestern in the spring of 2012, where he has been since.
Martin and the Trojans face South Pointe, Byrnes, Dorman, Ridge View, Sumter and Dutch Fork in a challenging non-region schedule this fall.