Senior finds success in college after having a four-year winning streak in high school
As one of the captains of the Eastern Washington University football team, senior Matt Martin had a vision for what the 2010 season would look like. So far, he said that things are falling into place but there is more down the road to make it a perfect season.
Though his high school team went undefeated all four years he played at La Crosse-Washtucna (Wash.) High School, the tight end never thought playing football for Eastern would be a reality, especially because he played eight-man football. He said that Eastern took a chance on him. Five years later he is a fierce competitor and a striving leader on and off the field.
Martin was named Scholar Athlete of the Month for October along with senior cross country standout Amy Kolin. Martin will be selected to the Big Sky Conference All-Academic team for the fourth time in 2010.
The former walk-on has helped Eastern to a 30-15 record in his four seasons in the program. Eastern is 23-8 in Big Sky Conference games in that span, and will be trying to win its first Big Sky Conference title since 2005 when the Eagles host Idaho State on Nov. 20 at Roos Field. While Martin said that focusing on a Big Sky title is tempting, they must first focus on what lies directly ahead of them.
The Eagles take on the future Big Sky member Southern Utah this Saturday (Nov. 13) as both teams take five-game winning streaks into the game. Martin says the goal for this game is strictly to win.
Q: How would you describe this football season?
A: "This season has been really fun. It's been kind of crazy with the close games. There have been a lot of close games. We've never really had a season like this -- with so many close games. It's been a little scary at times, but it has also been a really fun season."
Q: The team is currently ranked fifth. What does it feel like to be on such a successful team?
A: "It's really exciting. It goes to show how well the coaches prepared us and how well this team has gelled and grown as a family."
Q: As a captain, what were some of your goals for the team at the start of the season?
A: "Obviously you want the team to be successful; you want to win but we had a vision going into the season. We wanted to be Big Sky champs because it is something that no one who is currently in the program has done. That was the main goal for the team. We wanted to start off this decade right. As captains, we help carry out that goal."
Q: How does it feel to be so close to the goal of Big Sky Champs?
A: "It's crazy. Especially during the bye week when we had a lot of time to think about it. Obviously we're not overlooking Southern Utah at all. They're our No. 1 priority right now. But it's the closest this group has ever been. Last year we were fighting just to get into playoffs. Obviously, we'll have to fight in these next three games to be in the playoff hunt, but it's nice that we don't have our backs against the wall this year. It's exciting, it's fun and it feels like all the hard work we put in is getting so close to paying off."
Q: What are some goals for this weekend in your game against Southern Utah?
A: "The goal is just to win. We know that this game has huge implications as far as playoffs go, so it's a big game. Though it's not a league game, we know that they're a future Big Sky Conference school so we want to create a rivalry, starting with this game. It was a tough game last year when we played them. They're a good team and it's exciting they are going to be in the Big Sky. The main thing is to just go get a win."
Q: How did you end up at Eastern?
A: "They were the first team who started recruiting me. I wanted to play Division I football and Paul Wolff gave me the opportunity as a preferred walk-on and said if I worked hard I could earn a scholarship. He took a chance on me in the sense that I played eight-man football in high school. I wanted to play at the highest division possible and I want to be competitive. When I came on campus I loved the campus and I loved the team."
Q: What is the best part about being an Eastern student?
A: "I like that Eastern is a big school but it has a small school feeling. You know your teachers and you always see people who you know on campus. It's not so big that you feel lost."
Q: Who is your favorite professor and why?
A: "My favorite professor is communications teacher Seville Herring, who was a former track athlete at Eastern and Hall of Famer. She is really fun and a great teacher. She is very understanding, knowing what it's like to be in sports. She is easy to relate to."
Q: Who is your favorite teammate and why?
A: "I would say the Johnson twins (Matt and Zach). They are hard workers and they are really talented. The way they carry themselves on the field and they're work ethic is really respectable. Watching them play together and have fun together is really cool. I see them a lot because when I'm on the sideline, they're on the field. They always get after it."
Q: When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: "I wanted to be everything the typical little boy wanted to be. It changed every week from a police officer, to a fireman to a cowboy."
Q: Now, what do you want to be when you grow up?
A: "I want to be an athletic director. I'm coming after Bill Chaves' job – he better be ready."
Q: What is your biggest fear?
A: My biggest fear is clowns! I hate clowns. I seriously have a serious phobia of clowns."
Q: Who was your childhood hero?
A: "My parents because they both worked really hard."