Angela Martin was named the director Indiana States’s men’s and women’s cross country and track & field program on May 31, 2017. During the 2017 season, she had served as interim director following the untimely death of legendary head coach John McNichols.
An ISU graduate and All-American runner, Martin had been an assistant coach since 2002-2003 and the women’s head coach since 2010-2011.
The Sycamore’s Claire Gardner sat down with Martin to discuss what it is like being a coach at ISU.
CG: What goals do you have for your teams?
AM: Our goals each season are to finish in the top 3 of the Missouri Valley Conference and qualify for the NCAA tournament. We have a great history in our track and field and cross country programs and we keep our expectations high for our student athletes.
CG: What has been the most rewarding part of being a coach?
AM: The relationships that are built with our student athletes are amazing. We work hard to have a family atmosphere. When a student-athlete achieves something and performs above expectations, as a coach you are so happy for them. It is like being a proud parent.
CG: What has been the most difficult and how have you overcome that? What made you want to coach at ISU?
AM: I have had amazing mentors while at Indiana State. John McNichols and John Gartland helped me see how I could share my love and passion for our sport with others. They are truly the reasons that I came to Indiana State as a student athlete and came back as a coach. The passing of Coach McNichols was one of the hardest things for not only me but our other coachesand our athletes. Mourning him in the midst of a season and figuring out how to navigate the daily grind of coaching was very hard and forced me to learn a lot. I think that in this job you are always learning to adapt.
CG: What is your philosophy of coaching and its relationship to education?
AM: My background is education and I approach coaching as teaching. We try to teach our student athletes not only to be the best at their sport but we push them to be good students, good people, and valuable members of the Indiana State University community. We bring in a lot of excellent students and I hope that they add to the education of others they share the classroom with. I also value that many of our student-athletes go on to be teachers and coaches after they graduate.
CG: How do you promote positive energy and team building?
AM: Our coaching staff tries to lead by example. We have a lot of talks about what our goals and expectations are. We work hard to motivate our student-athletes and push them to reach their personal goals as individuals also. Attitudes are contagious and we try to be encouraging and help the team build healthy relationships that make them want to do well for themselves and their teammates. Each semester we try to organize some type of team bonding. Last year we ... got together at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course and watched a movie at dusk on the videoboard while enjoying some Twisted Fry. Our team really enjoyed it. We also rely heavily on the upperclassmen and leaders on our team to be great pedestals for success. We have a team motto this season of “One Team, One Family” and (we) really want to encourage success in all they do.