|Ex-Vol QB Martin joins New Mexico staff|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 23 January 2009 12:20|
Martin, who led Tennessee to an undefeated national championship in 1998 after two years as Peyton Manning's backup, was among the assistants introduced Friday by newly hired Lobos head coach Mike Locksley.
``I'm excited about the opportunity to coach at New Mexico, to be with coach Locksley and to be a coach in the spread offense,'' Martin said. ``It's a system that I'm excited about seeing developed here at New Mexico.''
Martin will coach quarterbacks, of course, and his name recognition is already making a strong impression.
``The first thing when he got here, I wanted to get his autograph. I haven't met many national championship-winning quarterbacks,'' said Darrell Dickey, the former North Texas coach who will be New Mexico's offensive coordinator.
sing game coordinator for one season at Division II Morehouse College in Atlanta.
But his track to Albuquerque began several years ago with Martin's involvement as a coach at Nike's training camps for college prospects, and running his own quarterback camps.
In that role, Martin worked closely with top quarterback prospects like Jacory Harris, now at Miami, Georgia signee Aaron Murray and California star Matt Barkley, who recently enrolled early at USC.
``All the top kids that you guys see in top recruiting services, we've had the opportunity to work with them,'' Martin said.
It was while running those camps that Martin met Locksley, who introduced himself after seeing Martin at work.
``Man, you need to get into college coaching,'' Locksley told Martin. ``You'd be a great fit.''
At the time, Locksley was a rising star in the coaching ranks as an assistant at Florida and, later, Illinois. Locksley recalled telling Martin he planned to call after becoming a head coach.
``That was big for me,'' Martin said. ``Not only was he evaluating players, he was evaluating me as well. A lot of coaches didn't take that opportunity to do that. It lets you know what kind of an eye he has for the game.''
After that, Martin said he embraced a more professional approach to his coaching, even at the high school level. And in the back of his mind, he considered the prospect of working with Locksley.
``It was something that was talked about and dreamed about several years ago,'' Martin said. ``Now it has come to fruition.''
Locksley's haul of assistants includes a few other recognizable names.
Doug Mallory, the defensive coordinator, had the same job at LSU last season, capping a four-year run at the school that included the 2007 national championship. He and Locksley were assistants at Maryland in the late 1990s.
M's head coach from 2005-07, will handle New Mexico's defensive line. He's better known for his days in the 1970s and '80s with the NFL's Denver Broncos, when he played in two Super Bowls.
Cheston Blackshear, who will coach offensive tackles and tight ends, played in the 1996 national championship game at Florida. He was a graduate assistant with Locksley at Illinois and Florida.
Mike Degory, handling centers and offensive guards, also played at Florida, a center from 2001-05 who established a school record with 50 starts. He was a graduate assistant with Locksley the past two years at Illinois.
Locksley, regarded as a top recruiter, said his assistants were chosen for their teaching skills and recruiting expertise. He cited defensive backs coach George Barlow, as one example, for his strong recruiting ties to the Dallas area.
``All these guys have great, dynamic personalities,'' Locksley said. ``That's how you recruit. That's how you sell.''