Players agree, Martin perfect fit for Mavs
Zach Adair had a little more insight than most of his Colorado Mesa University football teammates when it came to new coach Russ Martin.
Adair was a student representative on the selection committee, sitting in on interviews with the six finalists. Adair, who will be a junior running back in the fall, wholeheartedly agreed with the hire.
“I was looking for a guy who I knew was going to be a good leader,” he said Tuesday after Martin was introduced as Mesa’s 18th football coach. “Not only a good leader, but who knows the game of football at a really high level, and also is a good person.
“It’s like Butch (Miller, CMU’s athletic director) said, ‘You have to make up for losing Coach (Joe) Ramunno, because he is such a great man.’ We’re replacing a great man with another great man.”
Adair could tell from the interview with Martin that he was the man for the job.
“He’s smart, very intelligent,” Adair said. “You know he knows a lot about football from his background and his reputation. Meeting the man, you knew he cared a lot about his players, he’s a family man. You just knew that under him, we can go in the right direction and win a lot of games.”
Martin addressed the Mavericks, who were sitting together in the stands, telling them he was ready to go to work with them.
“It was a tremendous opportunity to compete against you. Fellas, I’ve got to tell you, I look pretty dang good in maroon,” he said, tugging on his maroon dress shirt. “Together, we can build this.
“Looking at the teams from the past, you have tremendous talent and ability. As we step into those things, you’re going to be our best recruiters. You’ve been in this program and understand what’s expected.
“As we progress, we look forward to the changes and make Mesa football not only challenge for conference championships, but compete nationally. That’s our goal. That’s where we’re headed.”
The team met with Martin and new defensive coordinator Todd Auer, who left Chadron State to join Martin’s staff, Tuesday afternoon, and after that, went directly to the weight room.
“I’m excited to meet him,” said Robert Felberg, who will be a senior in the fall. “We’ve been waiting and waiting since what happened last season. We’re definitely excited about Coach Martin. I’ve got some friends at Kearney and they’ve all told me things, told me good things about him; he’s a likeable guy and we’re all excited to get going.”
Jordan Price, the RMAC defensive freshman of the year, said he was relieved the search was over.
“We’re just glad we’ve got somebody good,” he said. “We didn’t want some random guy off the street, we wanted somebody with a great background who has great talent. They’re taking (the program) seriously. They’re kicking it up. They know we want to win.”
Adair said the players knew the timeline, that Miller wanted a coach hired and on campus by Tuesday, the first day of classes for the spring semester.
“We’ve been asking everybody on Facebook, texting everybody, ‘Have you heard about a new coach?’ We knew it was coming and they wanted it done by (last) weekend and everyone was talking to everyone, trying to find out,” he said.
“It’s good to have someone who’s driving this dang bus, hopefully down championship road.”