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Martin Forced to Play Catch-Up in First Season


Janet Martin did not get the head coaching job at Colorado State she coveted.

But just a few months later, she was hired for what she considers to be a bigger challenge--building the Cal State Northridge women's program into a Division I contender.

"I had been watching the Northridge program, but I thought they had a year to go to get to Division I," Martin said.

"When I found out they were going Division I this season, I thought, 'What a great deal.' I'm very happy with the prospect of what we can do here."

Martin was hired in whirlwind fashion.

While in Seattle in July for the Goodwill Games, she saw an advertisement for the position in the NCAA News. She immediately sent CSUN officials a resume and upon returning to her home in Fort Collins, Colo., there was a message from them inviting her for an interview.

She flew to Northridge the next day and was hired two days later.

A native of Corvallis, Ore., Martin scored 1,145 points for Oregon State from 1979-83. After two years of professional ball in Belgium and Switzerland, she launched her coaching career as an assistant at Southwestern Louisiana.

After two years in a similar capacity at San Diego State, Martin was hired as an assistant by Colorado State.

Midway through last season, her first at Colorado State, head Coach Brian Berger resigned. Martin took over on an interim basis and the Rams won three of their remaining 13 games. Although she did not get the top job, Martin planned to stay on as an assistant to the new coach, Greg Williams, until CSUN made its offer in mid-August.

The late start cost her and assistant coaches Shannon Boyd and Eliseo Nino the opportunity to scout national all-star games such as the Basketball Congress International tournament, so they did not sign a player in the early period that ended Wednesday.

"We are spending a lot of time catching up on recruiting," Martin said. "Northridge is a good school to recruit to. Kids like the area and with (the program) going to Division I, there are a lot of firsts. The first winning season. The first 20-point game. The first 20 rebounds. It is a strong selling point."

Although CSUN lacks the budget to fully fund the program, the number of partial scholarships will increase from nine to 13 after this season.

Martin is eager for the day when she can offer room, board and tuition. "Living in the dorm is such a big part of going to school," Martin said. "The kids need that campus life."

Only two players have full scholarships and live in the dorms. Five members of the team have to work to make ends meet and several players travel long distances to class and practice.

"I can't believe it," Martin said. "When I have a team meeting, I have to call three area codes."

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