Martin stepping down as Oak Hall volleyball coach

Cari Martin, who led Oak Hall to two state championships, has decided to resign as volleyball coach. (Photo by Rick Runion/The Lakeland Ledger)

Published: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 at 5:25 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 at 5:25 p.m.

Cari Martin, who led Oak Hall to a pair of state titles in volleyball while compiling a 581-195 record over 26 years, resigned Tuesday.

Martin, 47, took over the Eagles’ program in 1988 and during her reign reached 12 final fours and won Class 1A state titles in 1997 and 1999. Her teams also won 17 district and 12 regional titles and were state runners-up four times, the last coming in 2005.

“It is with a heavy heart that I have decided to step down,” Martin said. “As the saying goes, all great things must come to an end. I feel very fortunate to have had the success I have had coaching the last 26 years at Oak Hall and stepping down is not easy.

“I have been blessed with oodles of great times, memories and developed many special relationships that I will cherish forever. I am and will continue to be Oak Hall’s biggest volleyball fan.”

Martin started coaching at Oak Hall the same year Cindy Boulware did at Gainesville High. Boulware, inducted into the Florida High School Athletic Hall of Fame after going 551-155 and winning three state titles in 23 years, remains the school’s athletic director.

“Cari Martin has been an icon of area volleyball in her 26 years at Oak Hall,” Boulware said. “We’ve enjoyed many tough battles. She should be proud of her winning legacy and the number of players that went on to play collegiately. Congratulations, coach Martin.”

Athletic director Jeff Malloy said Martin will remain at Oak Hall.

“It is going to be quite a change for our school community to not have Cari leading our volleyball program,” Malloy said. “She has always been very passionate about the success of volleyball at Oak Hall and no one wants to win more than Cari.”

Malloy said the school will begin a search for a replacement and hope to name a new coach by early January. The Eagles, who went 11-14 this season, last reached the state semifinals in 2010.

“It is no secret that I have debated stepping down the last couple years,” Martin said. “No time is ever the right time, but I know in my heart, this time is the right time and so it is. I would like to say a big thank you to the Oak Hall players, administrators, parents, fellow coaches and colleagues for supporting me and the volleyball program over the years.”

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