SPORTS & MORE: KWHS athletic director also hopes to coach soccer

Justin Martin was born and grew up in Key West, graduated from Key West High, then Flagler College in St. Augustine.

 After college, he spent three  years tending to the family  business — commercial  fishing  — before he took on coaching  the Conchs’ girls soccer team.

Now, since June, and at the age  of 27, he has become the  school’s athletic director, succeeding Sarah Eckert, who  has become the Key West volleyball coach.

Several balls had to fall in the  right place for Martin to become AD: Kim Butler decided she didn’t want to continue as head coach of the school’s volleyball team. Eckert, who had coached volleyball at several stops before coming to Key West, wanted the volleyball job. That left the athletic director position open.

“They knew I was interested in an  administrative job, so I was offered the AD job,” said Martin. 

That was in June. To add to the  formula, Butler will stay with  volleyball as Eckert’s assistant.

But there’s one more piece to the puzzle: If it’s possible, Martin, who played four years of soccer at Key West High, and assisted Scott Paul when Paul was the head coach, wants to stay on as girls’ head soccer coach.

“I would like  to,” he said, “but we’ll see. Our principal, Dr.  Larry Schmiegel, and I will see if I have enough time to do both. It’ll be a collective decision. What’s best for the school.”

They’ve got time. The  pre-season girls soccer game against Seminole isn’t until  Nov. 5. The current 17-game schedule begins the following Monday against Palmer Trinity.

“Ideally, I’d like a 20-game schedule,” Martin said.
So more games may be added.

His Lady Conchs had a  successful season a year ago, finishing with 8 wins, 5 losses and 3 ties before losing to Gulliver Prep in the state regional semifinals.

Martin has an overall goal of sending his players off to college and last year went 6-for-6 with  his seniors. Jenna Domenlech was the only one who went on to play soccer — at Concord  University in West Virginia.

“I have a passion for sports,” he  admits. “I dream of helping send my players off to college.”

In the meantime, the new AD  has been introducing himself and hiring coaches.

Most of the new coaches had  already been chosen before Martin came on board. Josh Bassett is the new golf coach.  Chris Ellis, who teaches language arts at Horace O’Bryant Middle  School, is the  new boys basketball coach.
The only opening is cross  country. They thought they had the position filled, but the prospect decided against it.  Dave Perkins, the track and field coach, is filling in.

The rest of the coaches are in  place from a year ago: John  Hughes, football; Shonta  McLeod, girls basketball; Lori  Bosco, swimming; Marc Pierre,  boys soccer; Chaz Jimenez, wrestling; Stacey Pallari, weightlifting; Ralph Henriquez  Jr., baseball; Jason Garcia, softball; Perkins, track and field;  Marisa Giacopuzzi, boys and girls lacrosse; Paul Findlay, boys and girls tennis, and Tiffany Hughes, cheerleading.

That would seem like a full  house and Martin believes it is.  But he is keeping his mind open.

“The FHSAA has added beach  volleyball this year,” he said. “I’m not saying we would add it, not this  year.” 

But, next  year?

This from a man who is trying  to see if he has time to be the  athletic director and girls soccer coach.

If you would like to have the Weekly delivered to your mailbox or inbox along with our daily news blast, please subscribe here.

Veteran sports columnist Ralph Morrow says the only sport he doesn’t follow is cricket. That leaves plenty of others to fill his time.