When Thomas Wolfe wrote, “you can never come home again,” he didn’t have Mike Martin in mind. Brown University named former Brown basketball standout Mike Martin ‘04 the 31st head men’s basketball coach in the program’s 106-year history on June 1, 2012. Martin (born July 4, 1982) launched his career in 2012-2013 as the fourth youngest head men’s basketball coach in Division I.
“Mike Martin brings tremendous energy, enthusiasm and leadership to the Brown Basketball program,” said Brown Director of Athletics Jack Hayes. “His experience in the Ivy League as both a successful student-athlete and coach has prepared him for this opportunity. We are excited that he is returning to his alma mater and look forward to the program returning to the top of the Ivy League.”
In just one short year at the helm of the Brown Basketball team, Martin has changed the direction and culture of the program, with the building blocks in place to develop an Ivy Championship team.
Martin was named a finalist for the Joe B. Hall Award as the nation's outstanding first-year head coach after leading the Bears to a turnaround season with a 13-15 overall record, including a fourth place finish in the Ivy standings with a 7-7 mark after winning four of its last five games.
Martin instilled a defensive work effort on the court that translated into an improvement in team defense of five points per game from the previous season. He also coached Brown's first ever Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year, Cedric Kuakumensah '16.
A four-year starter at Brown, Martin was part of the winningest class in the Bears' basketball history, posting a 63-45 four-year record from 2000-2004. He also helped the Class of 2004 to a school-record 39-17 Ivy League mark during that period -- the best by an Ivy League team other than Penn and Princeton since 1970.
"I'm honored and thrilled to be the head coach at Brown, a school at which I have so many fond memories,” said Martin. “I believe strongly in all we have to offer at Brown and am eager to connect with all the current players, Brown alumni, fans, and supporters."
An economics concentrator as an undergraduate, Martin was co-captain of Brown's 2003-2004 team that finished second in the Ivy League standings for the third time in his four years, and defeated Princeton for the first time ever in Princeton, New Jersey. He also helped the Bears to a school-record four straight winning seasons.
A native of Agawam, Mass., where he starred at Cathedral High School, Martin averaged 11 points per game for Brown as a senior. He also played a major role on the Bears' 2003 team that posted a 12-2 Ivy League mark and earned a berth in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). When he graduated, Martin ranked third all-time at Brown in career treys (143), ninth in career steals (113), and tenth in career assists (232).
After graduating from Brown, Martin spent the 2004-05 season playing professionally for Dart Killester in Ireland's top division of professional basketball.
Martin launched his coaching career at Brown on head coach Glen Miller’s staff as an assistant coach in 2005-2006. He joined Miller at Penn in 2006-2007 as an assistant coach and enjoyed a memorable season, with the Quakers posting a 22-9 record, winning the Ivy League Championship with a 13-1 League mark, and advancing to the NCAA Tournament.
This past season, his sixth at Penn, he helped head coach Jerome Allen and the Quakers post 20 wins overall for the first time since 2006-07, finishing second in the Ivy League at 11-3, one game behind Harvard in the standings. Penn then played in the postseason College Basketball Invitational, defeating Quinnipiac in the opening round before falling to Butler in the quarterfinal round.
Martin has helped recruit and mentor some of the Ivy League's top players during his time at Brown and Penn, including Matt Mullery ’10, Brown’s all-time leader in blocked shots, and Penn’s Zack Rosen, the Ivy League Player of the Year in 2011-12 and the program's all-time assist leader.
Martin and his wife, the former Kristin Ferrell ’04, who played soccer at Brown, have two daughters, Keira and Avery.
What They Say About Mike Martin:
Penn Head Basketball Coach Jerome Allen:
“I am extremely happy for Mike and his family; his hiring is well-deserved. Mike has done the University of Pennsylvania a great service for the last six years, and it is only right that he get the opportunity to run his own program. As I have learned the last three years, it is a special opportunity to oversee a program that you once played in, and I know that Mike will embrace that opportunity at Brown. With the exception of two times each season, I wish Mike nothing but the best of success.”
University of Michigan Men's Basketball Head Coach John Beilein:
"It was just a matter of time before Mike Martin became a head coach at the Division I level. Mike is an impressive young man with great potential as a leader and a basketball coach. He understands what it takes to win in the Ivy League and gives Brown a rising star in the coaching profession."
Former Hofstra Head Basketball Coach Mo Cassara:
“Mike Martin is one of the most talented and energetic young coaches in the country. Mike's return to Brown is a wonderful hire for the basketball program, the athletic department and the university community.
Boston College Men’s Basketball Coach Steve Donahue:
“Brown could not have hired a better person or coach. He understands what Brown and the Ivy League is all about, and he’s the perfect guy for the job. Watching him grow as a player and coach, I always thought Mike would be an Ivy League head coach.”
Hartford Head Basketball Coach John Gallagher:
“Having worked with Mike for two years and seeing first hand the work ethic, discipline and energy he exhibited, it will come at no surprise when Brown Basketball plays with those same qualities.”
Ivy League Executive Director Robin Harris:
"Mike had an outstanding playing career as an Ivy League student-athlete and has built on those experiences to find great success as a coach. I wish him all the best as he embarks on the next stage of his coaching career at Brown."
Brown’s All-Time Leading Scorer Earl Hunt ’03:
“As an alum and teammate of Mike, I’m extremely pleased at the decision to have him lead the Brown basketball program. He’s smart, energetic and hates to lose. Mike’s well connected in recruiting circles, and is a wonderful representative of Brown. The program could not be in better hands.”
Stanford Athletic Director and NCAA Basketball Committeeman Bernard Muir ’90:
“Mike’s enthusiasm, passion, and knowledge of the game make him a great hire for Brown. Mike exudes confidence in everything he does. As a former player, I’m excited about the leadership Mike will bring to the program. The Brown basketball community is ready to stand behind him.”
Former Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese:
“I remember Mike as a very good basketball player and outstanding competitor at Brown. The basketball program at Brown will be in great hands under his leadership.”