Athens Drive head football coach Chris Martin stepped down Friday morning, just three games into an 0-3 season. The Jaguars had lost 44-7 to Greensboro’s Grimsley High the night before.
Athens Drive will finish the season with co-interim head coaches in longtime assistant Jimmy Ray and former Broughton head coach Chris Martin (no relation). Ray said the former Athens Drive coach Martin texted the two well-wishes.
“He wished us luck the rest of the way and that he hoped we could do a good job of turning things around and things of that nature.”
Ray will be the team’s offensive coordinator and run that side of the ball while co-interim coach Chris Martin – who the staff calls “Deuce” to avoid confusion with ex-head coach Chris Martin – will lead the defense.
“We’ll kind of split things down the middle,” Ray said. “Neither one of us had planned on taking on the role of head coach, obviously. In terms of our personal lives, it kind of worked out better that we do a co-situation than one of us trying to take it over solely.”
Ray, who has been an assistant at Athens Drive since 1999 and is a class of 1993 graduate, has worked under six different head football coaches and assisted with basketball and track and field.
He and Martin, who was 43-61 at Broughton from 2004-12, told the players to take some time off.
“The kids were taken aback, but in the same breath, kids are resilient,” Ray said. “We told them to take 48 hours. We’re going to practice on Monday. It was Friday and we told them to take Saturday and Sunday to just kind of reflect, get their thoughts together, don’t put any irrational or emotional posts via social media – we don’t want any of that – and refresh themselves for Monday.”
Former head coach Martin, who still teaches at the school, was in his fourth year leading the Jaguars and had built a 13-24 record. The Jags lost their opener 28-27 to Cardinal Gibbons and 60-0 to Virginia power George Washington High before Thursday’s loss to Grimsley.
Athens Drive went 5-7 in Martin’s first season, which was the only one that earned a state playoff appearance.