Grand Valley State head coach Chuck Martin is set to embark on his sixth year as the leader of the winningest DII football program in the country. All Martin has done his first five years is lead the Lakers to two NCAA DII Football National Championships, 61 total wins and set the all-time NCAA DII winning streak at 40. He has been named the American Football Coaches Association DII Coach of the Year twice and was honored as the GLIAC Coach of the Year for the first time in 2007. Martin, who was an assistant coach at GVSU for four years prior to becoming the sixth head coach in Laker football history, was named to the head coaching post on December 31, 2003.
Few have been as successful as Martin in the first five years of their head coaching career. Martin is 61-5 (.924) overall with a 13-3 playoff record, two National Championships and four GLIAC titles. GVSU is 46-2 in GLIAC action, including a current 40-game GLIAC winning streak. He guided Grand Valley State to its fourth straight perfect regular season in 2008. Martin is the winningest active DII head coach in the country and is in a virtual tie with Mount Union's Larry Kehres for the winningest active college football coach title regardless of division. Kehres has a .9247 winning percentage (275-21-3), while Martin has a .9242 winning percentage.
Under Martin, 29 players have earned various all-america honors and the Lakers have dominated the Player of the Year circut. Offensive lineman Brandon Barnes was the 2007 recipient Gene Upshaw Award, following defensive lineman Mike McFadden who was honored as the 2005 and 2006 Gene Upshaw Award winner. Quarterback Cullen Finnerty finished second in the voting for the 2006 Harlon Hill Award, which goes annually to the DII Player of the Year, while current QB Brad Iciek finished fifth in the 2008 Hill voting and seventh in the 2007. In Martin's five years at the helm the Lakers have turned out three GLIAC Defensive Lineman of Year honorees that have won the award five times, three straight GLIAC Offensive Lineman of Year award winners, two GLIAC Offensive Back's of the Year and two GLIAC Defensive Back's of the Year awardees, a GLIAC Player of the Year and a GLIAC Freshman of the Year. Ninety five players have earned All-GLIAC plaudits under Martin, including 46 first-team selections. Grand Valley State has also been ranked number one in the AFCA Coaches Poll for 49 of 68 weeks the poll has been released during Martin's tenure.
A promoter of the full college experience, Martin and his Laker football squad are active contributors to community charitable organizations. The Laker football team has been active in donating time to Love Inc., Goodwill, The Salvation Army, local Grand Rapids hospitals and soup kitchens, Habitat For Humanity and Hurricane Katrina relief efforts in Kiln, Mississippi. Martin and 36 members of the Laker football team spent a week in Kiln, Mississippi at Camp Coastal Outpost helping clean up the surrounding areas and build houses in 2007. Martin most recently led a group of 51 student-athletes to Grace Advantures Youth Camp to help clear trails and repair cabins.
Martin's 2008 squad turned in its fourth straight undefeatd regular season and advanced to the NCAA playoffs for the eighth consecutive year. GVSU is the only school in the country to appear in the last eight NCAA DII playoffs. The Lakers' fourth consecutive GLIAC title was challenged by Ashland as the Eagles led GVSU by a 36-21 margin with 6:37 left in the third quarter. However, a 27-0 scoring run in just over a quarter gave the Lakers a 48-36 lead en route to a 48-42 victory. GVSU then claimed an impressive 40-7 victory over the Eagles in second-round NCAA playoff action at Lubbers Stadium. The Lakers built a 24-0 halftime lead and held the ball for first 11:24 of the third quarter. Grand Valley State dropped a 19-13 double overtime decision to eventual NCAA DII National Champion Minnesota-Duluth in quarterfinal action to finish the campaign with an 11-1 mark. Seven players earned all-america honors and 22 were named All-GLIAC. OC Billy Eisenhardt and DL Dan Skuta were consensus first-team all-america honorees.
The 2007 Laker football team dominated foes much like the previous three years. Grand Valley State cruised through the regular season untouched. The Laker offense and defense ranked among the top three in virtually every GLIAC category, including leading the league in four defensive categories. The Lakers ended North Dakota's season for the third straight year in a second-round playoff game and then captured its sixth regional crown in the last seven years with a 41-21 victory over Central Washington. Despite being undefeated, Grand Valley State went on the road for a semifinal contest at one-loss Northwest Missouri State. The Lakers led at the half and trailed by just one point (17-16) early in the fourth quarter, but a turnover and couple of big plays by the Bearcats proved to be to much for Grand Valley State in a 34-16 loss. Four Lakers earned consensus all-america honors and 20 were awarded All-GLIAC plaudits. GVSU led the GLIAC in scoring defense (14.5), total defense (303.6), pass efficiency defense (95.6) and QB sacks (42), while ranking second in pass defense (154.7) and rush defense (148.9). Offensively, the Lakers ranked among the top three in six seperate categories. Grand Valley State held nine-of-13 opponents under 14 points and only one scored more than 21 points.
GVSU swept through the 2006 regular season in dominating fashion, outscoring its GLIAC foes by an average score of 37.1 -14.6. Grand Valley State then rambled through a playoff run that included wins over two North Central Conference schools (South Dakota and North Dakota) in regional action, a win over a Gulf South Conference team (Delta State) in the semifinals, followed by a victory over the MIAA's Northwest Missouri State in the title game. An incredible 21 players earned All-GLIAC plaudits, including nine first-teamers. Seven individuals earned all-american honors, including consensus first-teamers in QB Cullen Finnerty, OT Brandon Barnes, DL Mike McFadden, LB Anthony Adams and CB Brandon Carr.
The 2005 Laker squad held 11-of-13 opponents to 17 points or less, including seven that scored 10 points or fewer in their title run. Conversely, the Laker offense broke the 30-point mark eight times and outscored their opponents 434-159. Eighteen Lakers earned All-GLIAC plaudits, including nine that earned All-GLIAC First-Team honors. Eight 2005 squad members also earned all-america plaudits, including two (Mike McFadden and Josh Bourke) that were consensus all-americans.
GVSU opened the 2005 season with an impressive 30-10 win over West Michigan rival Ferris State before a then GVSU single-game record crowd of 14,557. GVSU moved into the number one spot in the AFCA coaches poll following a 14-10 comeback win over Ashland in week four. The victory over the Eagles sparked a momentum change and the Lakers rolled through the rest of regular season. GVSU claimed a 31-10 victory over #4 Saginaw Valley State in week seven and a 30-14 win over #5 Northwood in week eight. Martin guided the Lakers to four more impressive wins over ranked opponents in the playoffs, including a 21-17 victory over Northwest Missouri State in the title game.
Martin guided Grand Valley State to a 10-3 mark and a berth in the NCAA DII playoff in his first season at the helm. The 10 wins posted by GVSU under Martin were the most for any first-year head coach in the history of Laker football.
Martin's first head coaching victory came in the season opener against GLIAC and West Michigan rival Ferris State by a 24-6 score. GVSU followed with five more victories and continued to hold onto the top ranking in the AFCA poll. Following a pair of setbacks to nationally-ranked teams, the Lakers concluded the regular season with a pair of wins, including a 24-7 victory over fourth-ranked Michigan Tech in front of over 50,000 at Michigan Stadium.
Grand Valley State advanced to the NCAA DII Playoffs for the fourth straight year and claimed a 16-13 comeback win at 8th-ranked Winona State in first-round action. GVSU followed with a 10-7 victory over Northwood in a second-round contest. The win over the Timberwolves avenged an early-season loss and advanced GVSU to the NCAA DII Quarterfinals for the fourth straight year. GVSU dropped its quarterfinal matchup at North Dakota by a 19-15 score. The Lakers, who finished the 2004 season ranked ninth in the country, placed 12 members on the All-GLIAC squad.
Prior to being named head coach, Martin was an assistant coach at GVSU for four years. Chuck was the defensive coordinator in the Lakers' 2003 National Championship season. Grand Valley State rode its defense to the 2003 NCAA DII Football National Championship, holding its final three opponents in the playoffs to just three field goals. Grand Valley State ranked in the top 10 nationally in four defensive categories in 2003, including a national-best, rushing defense that yielded just 64.9 yards per game. In addition, GVSU led the nation in turnovers forced (43) and total turnover margin (+21). Grand Valley State ranked third in scoring defense (13.3 ppg) and 19th in pass efficiency defense (100.3). The Lakers ranked first in the GLIAC in four defensive categories and second in two.
Martin was a key figure in the progression of the GVSU defense during his time as an assistant. Under his leadership, the defensive backfield earned 10 All-GLIAC honors in four years, including safety Scott Mackey being named the GLIAC Defensive Back of the Year and a First-Team All-American in 2002 and 2003. The Laker defensive backfield picked off 84 passes the four years prior to him becoming head coach, including a GVSU single-season record 26 in both 2001 and 2003. Grand Valley State returned 14 interceptions for touchdowns.
The 40-year-old Martin began his coaching career at Mankato State in 1992 while finishing his master's degree. After a one-year stint with the Mavericks, Martin moved on to Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. At Wittenberg, Martin coached the linebackers in football and served as the head golf coach and assistant baseball coach for two years. He moved on to become the defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach at his alma mater, Millikin University, for two years before taking over the linebackers at Eastern Michigan in 1998. Martin coached the linebackers at EMU for two years prior to his arrival at GVSU.
Martin was a standout athlete at Millikin University, earning All-American honors as a free safety, as well as GTE Academic All-American plaudits. In addition, Martin was an all-conference place-kicker. Chuck was also a standout on the hardwood for Millikin, earning academic all-district honors. Martin graduated from Millikin in 1990 with a degree in accounting. He was inducted into the Millikin Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008.
Chuck is a native of Park Forest, Illinois, and graduated from Rich East High School in 1986. Martin and his wife, Dulcie, have a nine-year old son (Max) and a five-year old daughter (Emma).
|Martin's Career Record|