Rick Martin takes over the baseball program after years as an assistant and in the summer program

by: SANDY POST: PARKER LEE - New Sandy baseball coach Rick Martin visits the high school field last week.When the new Sandy High athletic facilities were being constructed prior to the 2012-2013 school year, Rick Martin was on the front lines in the building of the baseball field. Now Martin will go to work building the program.

The Sandy athletic department has announced that Martin has been hired as the new varsity baseball head coach. For athletic director Wade Lockett, the decision was a no-brainer.

“I was an assistant coach with Rick last year, so we knew pretty quickly that we had a guy on staff that had a coaching philosophy that was congruent with the way we want to groom our athletes,” Lockett said. “Rick was the guy we targeted to begin with and wanted to pursue, so we feel very lucky to be in this spot right now.”

Martin replaces Garet Luebbert who resigned following the 2013 season after holding the position for a decade. Martin served as an assistant coach for the final two years of Luebbert’s tenure.

“After working with Garet, I felt a desire and an obligation to keep the program moving in the great direction that it has been going in for the last 10 years,” Martin said.

Martin’s connection to Sandy dates all the way back to his high-school days when he played baseball and basketball for the Pioneers.

After graduating from Sandy in 1980, Martin went on to play baseball at Clackamas Community College. An injury after his freshman year ended his career at Clackamas. Martin got back into the game coaching his children for several years, then he became the AAA American Legion coach in Oregon City. He and his family moved to Sandy and he joined the varsity staff with Luebbert shortly thereafter.

For Martin to be successful in his new role as head coach, he knows his players have to know he is in their corner and will be behind them no matter what.

“I will coach every kid on the team like they are my own child,” Martin said. “These are my kids. We will only be together as a team one time, but the relationships that form will go well beyond what happens on the field.”

The family approach Martin takes to coaching was paramount in the school’s decision to hire him. Molding athletes into all-around good people is a top priority for Sandy, and Martin fits that bill to the letter.

“Rick has a unique ability to communicate with kids and makes them want to play for him, and they will want to be better by being around him,” Lockett said. “He is a family man. He is a loyalty guy. He is a Sandy guy. Combine that with his baseball knowledge, and you are going to build a winning program.”

Martin won’t get to coach his first game as head coach until the spring, but he is already actively engaged in preparing for that day. Martin is heading up an effort to replace the old, rusty scoreboard behind the left field fence, which has looked out of place with its chipped paint and burnt-out light bulbs. Within the next few weeks, a shiny new scoreboard will overlook the pristine turf field. With that in place, Martin can ready his team to light it up come March.

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