Keith C. Martin ’89, who played and coached on one NCAA Division III national championship baseball team and two regional championship teams at Eastern Connecticut State University before going on to spend over 25 years in leadership positions in higher education as an administrator and coach, was presented with the Outstanding KPE Leadership Award at the University’s Sixth Annual Education Awards program April 20 at the Student Center Cafe.
A native of Jamestown, NY – located south of Buffalo in western New York -- Martin was among six individuals to receive alumni awards for outstanding contributions to higher education.
Martin transferred to Eastern in the fall of 1986 after two years at Jamestown Community College. Under Eastern Hall of Fame baseball coach Bill Holowaty, Martin played two seasons as an outfielder and third baseman with a career .300 batting average, helping the Warriors to the 1987 NCAA Division III regional championship. He later joined Holowaty’s staff as an assistant coach and head sub-varsity coach from 1989 through 1994, and was part of two regional championship teams, the 1990 team going on to win the second of the program’s four national titles.
“I have been so blessed with the people who have surrounded me all of these years,” noted Martin upon accepting the alumni award. “As a leader, you are only as good as the people that you surround yourself with, and for what Eastern Connecticut State University and the people who have touched my life and have done for me in my lifetime, I have the utmost gratitude. To coin a popular sports phrase, I have been ‘the luckiest man on the face of the earth’”.
At left: Bonnie Edmondson
Also receiving an alumni award was Bonnie Edmondson ’87, who was presented with the Outstanding KPE Educator Award. Edmondson currently serves as an associate professor and graduate program coordinator of health education at Southern Connecticut State University. The former Eastern track & field All-America is currently a member of the Olympic track & field and Trinity College coaching staffs.
Additional former Eastern student-athletes receiving student awards were Maggie Bodington’19 (soccer and lacrosse) of Stratford and Mackenzie Brower’16 (field hockey) of Granby and Kayla Labrecque ’19 (soccer) of Westhampton, MA. Bodington received an undergraduate award as the Outstanding Elementary Education Teacher Candidate; Brower the graduate program’s Outstanding Secondary Education Teacher Candidate; and Labrecque the Outstanding Physical Education Teacher Candidate.
After serving over five years as director of operations at the New England Sportsplex in Vernon, Martin returned to Jamestown Community College in 1999. At JCC, he held numerous leadership positions as an administrator and coach before being named director of athletics in the summer of 2012. In that role, he oversaw athletic programs on two campuses, managed the budget, supervised the coaching and support staff, spearheaded fundraising and community service events, oversaw event management and for several years, served as assistant director and director of the NJCAA Division III golf nationals.
At left: Maggie Bodington
Prior to being appointed as director of athletics, Martin served JCC in countless areas: as an adjunct faculty instructor in physical education, fitness manager, and director of summer sports camps, NJCAA Region III assistant men’s director and business manager, head women’s basketball coach – earning district Coach-of-the-Year honors three times -- and assistant coach of softball and baseball.
After a nearly 20-year career at JCC, Martin was recently named executive director of Northwest Arena – a 17-year-old multi-purpose facility located in downtown Jamestown which hosts local sporting events and concerts and is the home of the Jamestown Rebels, a junior hockey team in the North American Hockey League.
“One of the many lessons that coach Holowaty taught and stressed to me while I was at Eastern – something that I have held onto to this day – is to surround yourself with good people, and good things will happen to you,” says Martin. “In my many years at JCC as coach and director of athletics, all of our successes have been because of the coaches, assistant coaches and most importantly, the student-athletes who have come into my life.”
At left: Mackenzie Brower
Martin received a B.S. Degree in Business Administration with a minor in Athletic Coaching from Eastern and an A.S. Degree in Retail Business Management from JCC.
“When we met over 30 years ago, I found Keith to be a truly caring, sensitive person with high personal and professional standards, and that has never changed,” praised Eastern sports information director Bob Molta, who presented Martin for the award. “He has always been loyal, shown respect for everyone, and possessed a great sense of humor and work ethic. He has always valued cultivating and maintaining personal and professional relationships – all qualities found in effective leaders.”
A total of 14 awards were presented at the Education Awards reception: eight to students and six to alumni.
Below: Kayla Labrecque