In just his third year as the head baseball coach at DePauw, Jake Martin has his Tigers playing some of the best ball in school history.
Through his efforts and the excellence put forth on the field, Martin has been honored this year as the North Coach Athletic Conference Coach of the Year and the D3baseball.com Mideast Region Coach of the year.
This year's squad won 34 games, second most in school history, and tied a school record of 12 straight wins. The Tigers made their first NCAA Division III appearance since 2001.
In re-writing the record books, the Tigers set single season school records for hits, doubles, RBIs, total bases, fielding percentage (.974) and tied the mark for triples.
Martin was a standout baseball player at RCHS earning three letters, All-State honorable mention, all-conference (1997-99) and MVP.
After graduation from RCHS, Martin played center field and pitched for the Little Giants at Wabash College. He earned four varsity letters, received all-conference honors as a pitcher and outfielder and was named MVP in 2001 and 2003.
Growing up with a coach as a father, it was the next logical step for Martin to go into coaching following his time at Wabash. His first influence came from his home.
"My father, Eric, has coached baseball and football at many different levels within the Rushville community and beyond, so I have been around coaching my entire life," Martin said. "My college coach at Wabash, Tom Flynn, was the one to really encourage me to do it at the college level and he helped me get my first job."
Martin was the pitching coach for the Granville Settlers of the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League before spending six seasons as an assistant at DePauw, the arch rival of Wabash.
"It was challenging at first because it is an intense rivalry and I was unsure of how the DePauw players would respond to a Wabash grad. My friends from Wabash joked about it more than the people I met from DePauw," Martin said. "As time passed, it has become much easier. I guess it would be like going to coach for Connersville after graduating from Rushville. That's what makes rivalries fun though. Our tennis coach in the office next to mine is a Connersville grad, so we exchange rivalry jabs quite a bit within the office."
With all the success Martin has enjoyed as a coach, one might wonder who he takes after as a coach.
"I've taken a little bit from each coach that I've interacted with along the way. Sometimes the most influential coach is not one you play for or work for, but the one you compete against. There are several very good college baseball coaches here in Indiana that challenge you to get better or they will beat you. I've also taken ideas and philosophies from many of the very successful coaches here at DePauw. But, the coaches who have had a direct impact on me are my father, Coach Perin, Tom Flynn (former Wabash coach), and Matt Walker (former DePauw coach)," Martin said.
Another key aspect of success is having the right players to fit with style and philosophy of the program. Coach Martin looks for certain ingredients when it comes to recruiting a player to Wabash.
"We really look for three things. The first and most important factor is the academic strength of the prospect. We need athletes that are strong students so they can handle the academic rigors of DePauw and still excel on the field. The second thing we look for is character. This may be a little more difficult to see initially, but we look for prospects that play the right way, who work hard, and who are leaders amongst their teammates and classmates. We need players who are motivated and willing to put in the work to get better," Martin said.
"The final piece that we look for before we recruit a player is their athletic ability. We look for athletic baseball players who can run, throw, hit and play defense. If they cannot do all of those, then we look to see if we can improved one or more of those tools," Martin added.
Contact: Aaron Kirchoff at 765-932-2222 x114