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Image 5 of Carlisle Weekly February 1, 2012

Part of Carlisle Weekly

February 1, 2012 The Carlisle Weekly Page Five LOCAL NEWS My Days as a Racer As 2012 Racers Reach 22-0, Kirbyton Native Reflects on His Days as a Murray State Racer LEFT: Jarrod Martin as a Carlisle County Comet RIGHT: Jarrod Martin in 1997 on the cover of Murray State University’s 1997 Senior Day Program. Martin (11) is pictured with fellow seniors Vincent Rainey (22) and Lady Racer, Stephanie Minor (seated) By Michael Toon Carlisle Weekly On the national scene a small Western Kentucky school is making big waves with their winning ways. The small school that is capturing the imagination of the college basketball world and the sporting nation is the Murray State Racers of the Ohio Valley Conference. The Racers, as of press time, sat alone as the only undefeated team in the nation at 22-0 and ranked nationally in the top ten, as they are ranked #8 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Poll and #10 in the Associated Press Poll. It’s a story that Carlisle County Comet fans can relate to, as their beloved 1983 Comets team made national headlines in the USA Today newspaper, as it made its run to the 1983 Kentucky State Sweet 16 Runner-Up. When digging further for a Carlisle County connection to the Murray State Racers, very few know of a Comet that grew up to be a Racer. Jarrod Martin is a 1993 graduate of Carlisle County High School and went on to be a walk-on at Murray State University through the 1993-1994 seasons. Martin is the only Carlisle County High alumnus to go on to play major division one college basketball. In his years at Murray State University, the Racers wreaked havoc on the OVC, going a combined 83-35 in his years at Murray State, as the Racers made two NIT appearances and two NCAA Tournament appearances. On the court, opportunities to play were relegated to mop up duty when the Racers were up 20 or down 20. However, Martin gained respect and was a fan favorite throughout his years at Murray State due to his small stature (5’8”) and his abnormal leaping ability, quickness and personality. With the Racers succeeding in the once in a generation way they are this year, the Carlisle Weekly caught up with the former Comet and Racer, as he reflected on his years as a Racer and how his teams stack up against this year’s undefeated squad. CARLISLE WEEKLY (CW): Talk about your times at Murray State, what it took to be a walk on for the Racers, the dedication that had to be given, etc. How did you becoming a walk on come about? JARROD MARTIN (JM): Being a Racer was an honor that I really had very little to do with, but it was the Carlisle County connection through the historic 1983 Comet team that got me a spot on the team. Coach John Tyler, I think, contacted his old high school team mate David Rambo. Coach Tyler sent him a few tapes of games, and basically Coach Tyler told me that being a walk-on at MSU was a real possibility. CW: Explain the overall expereince of playing at Murray State Univeristy, the NCAA Tournament memories, unforgettable moments. JM: I'll never forget coming out of the tunnel at Racer Arena to a sell-out crowd where there was standing room only around the track at the top. For four years, I was the second or third person out of the tunnel, right behind Marcus Brown. During my senior year, I led the team out of the tunnel a few games, and started senior night. I remember my first practice most vividly. It was the first day that the coaches could be with us to condition and work out. We were told to meet at the football stadium track for some running. We were all standing around leisurely stretching and warming up when Coach Edgar came out of the building yelling, "RUN! RUN! RUN!" We ran a "warm up" lap, and then he punished us with 400, 200, 100, 50 and 25 meter runs. And then we headed to the Courageous Sunday Feb. 12th, 2012 CCHS Gymnasium Free Movie Screening begins at 6pm doors open at 5:15 Sponsored by Bardwell Baptist Church, Arlington First Baptist, Mississippi Baptist, Bethlehem Baptist Churches BRING YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY!! gym for suicides and sprints. We weren't called the Running Racers for nothing. I will always be grateful and humbled by the great fans of Racer basketball for their kindness to me. They were my fans despite my few minutes. They have always treated me with honor and respect, and I will never forget the way they embraced me, a walk-on, from the very first time I got into a game. I also remember being at the first game of the Arkansas Razorbacks' new arena in 1993, Bud Walton Arena. I also got to shake hands with Dean Smith and Coach K in our two NCAA appearances against UNC and Duke. The year we played UNC, I got to play 13 seconds at the end of the game where I was standing between future NBA AllStars Jerry Stackhouse and Rasheed Wallace at the freethrow line before they exited the game. Our three point loss to Duke in 1997 was one of my fondest memories. Hall of Fame Coach Mike Krzyzewski came into our locker room after the game and congratulated us all. He said we were one of the toughest teams they had played all season. Then, he turned to Vincent Rainey, our top scorer, and shook his hand and told him he was a great player. I was standing about four feet away. It was a real moment of pride at that moment to be honored with that team by one of the most successful coaches in college basketball history. doing far more than anyone could dream, but the winning tradition is being reclaimed. CW: What does the Racer tradition mean and what are your thoughts on the 22-0 start for the 2012 team ? How does it makes you feel as a person who has been a part of the rich Racer tradition to see them do what they are doing. JM: I'm currently teaching 9th and 10th grade English at Calloway County High. I’m the father of three kids: Isaac, Emma and Ella. About six years ago, my wife Sarah and I helped launch a new church in Murray, The Journey. We knew that there were a lot of people our age who used to go to church or who had never been in church, and for whatever reason, they weren't going to go to a traditional church. We've seen God bless our desire to see people far from God be drawn to Him, and we've grown from around 100 people on Sundays to averaging over 300. I have also opened my own web design business because I love helping people tell their story online. My business, OlliEleven.com, tries to give individuals and small businesses a professional online presence without a huge price tag. The web is so open and flexible, but lots of small businesses don't know how to tap into many of the easy and even free services that can help them create better customer contacts on the web. Jarrod Martin is a native of Kirbyton, Kentucky and the son of Rod and Brenda Martin of Kirbyton, Kentucky. JM: For me, the success of this year's team has been what I've been waiting for. The Racer win against Vanderbilt two years ago was that moment that set this current team up for their run at greatness, but for so many years, the second and third place conference finishes by the Racers just didn't seem right. Those were good teams, but they couldn't seem to make it to the top and I have to say, I didn't like it. But there is a certain comfort in know that this team is re-establishing the Racer legacy. The four years I played, we didn't lose a game on our home floor. At the time, we had the longest winning home streak in the nation and we beat Memphis in Racer Arena. We had no more than 10 losses in any season. Since 1997 there have been seven seasons with more than ten losses. We finished 1st in the conference regular season every year, but since 97 there have been only six 1st place finishes. This year's team is CW: Your former Murray State Head Coach, now Head Coach at NC State, Mark Gottfried was quoted as saying that the 1997 was a better team that this year’s squad. How do you think these undefeated Racers stack up against the teams you played on? JM: I think that 97’ team was something special. Chad Townsend and De'Teri Mayes would match up very well with Canaan and Poole. Vincent Rainey and Mayes both averaged 21 points a game that year. Canaan and Poole are close to that, but not quite there. Another difference is that the teams I played on had a pretty deep bench. Aaron Page, Darren Dawson, Arnell Hamilton, these guys could play. I don't think our defense was as good as what I've seen from this year's team, and these guys this year just don't make many mistakes with the ball. You don't see them beating themselves. They don't make bad decisions. So, while our talent may have been better, these guys have the discipline and decision-making that hides all weaknesses. CW: What are you doing now? Give the readers of the Carlisle Weekly a feel for what you have been doing since you left Carlisle County and graduated Murray State.

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