Interview with first-year assistant coach Ryan Martin
Previous School: Minnetonka High School
Ryan Martin has had an interesting journey back to Division I basketball. Even during his playing career, Martin took the path less traveled. He played two years at Coffeyville Community College in Coffeyville, Kansas. He then cracked his way on to the Wichita State roster during the 2005-07 seasons and played in the 2007 Sweet Sixteen for the Shockers.
After Martin’s playing career ended, he picked up a clipboard and headed back to Coffeyville to coach the men’s basketball team. Then, he headed back to school to get his master’s at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and assist the men’s team. After receiving his second college degree, Martin headed west toward the University of Northern Colorado to be an assistant coach on the men’s basketball team. Three years later, he ended up in Minnesota, coaching various teams in the Twin Cities. That’s where NDSU women’s head coach Maren Walseth found Martin. He was hired as an assistant coach for women’s basketball this September.
Bison Illustrated: You coached at the high school level last season. How did an opportunity to coach at NDSU come up?
Ryan Martin: I was an AAU coach in the Twin Cities area and I actually brought up one of my players here for an official visit last October. That was the very first time I ever met Maren (Walseth). We just connected from there and kept the relationship going, and I was lucky enough to be able to come on campus for an interview and lucky enough to get this job.
BI: What did you see in the program that made you decide to take the job?
RM: I saw that the program was headed in the right direction. I came to practice a couple times last year, you could just see that there was something there and I was really close with Patrick Harrison, who was here, and we would have conversations and he knew I was looking to get back into college coaching. I think we all felt like this was probably a really good place for me to come and get my feet dug in on the women’s side.
BI: You mentioned coaching at the AAU level. Have you seen some of the women on the roster play back in high school?
RM: I saw Tyrah (Spencer) a lot in the Twin Cities. I saw Sarah (Jacobson) a lot because she played for the Fury. I actually coached against Reilly Jacobson last summer in North Tartan Meltdown.
BI: You’ve been at the college level and the high school level, now you’re back in Division I. How does that help NDSU?
RM: I think that’s what’s so unique about our staff. We’ve all been in different places and have had different journeys because we can all bring a different viewpoint on the game of basketball to our program, to not only bring new ideas to the table, but help enhance what we already do here.
BI: You came in the first week of September. What did Coach Walseth have you do right away?
RM: My first two weeks were very busy. My very first weekend here, we had Macey (Kvilvang) on campus, Emily (Dietz) on campus and Danneka (Voegeli), and I was just getting thrown right into the fire, and then me did in- home visits with younger kids the next week so I had to hit the ground running in all aspects.
BI: You came in at a good time with the new Sanford Health Athletic Complex complete. What do you think?
RM: I was actually at UMKC, in the old BSA days, so I remember coming to shoot around, both years I was there. The shot put being behind one set of the bleachers, hearing the discus hit the ground, having the track athletes, running around the track while we’re trying to have shootaround, so it’s night and day for us as far as us being able to get into (recruiting) conversations that we weren’t able to get into before because of the facility. Now, we feel like we can get into any conversation with any kid.