Courtesy of WDEL:
The University of Delaware has another opening to fill. Long-time women’s head basketball coach Tina Martin has announced her retirement.
Martin recently finished her 21st year at the helm of the Blue Hens, piling up 408 wins, a school record for either men’s or women’s basketball. She took her teams to four NCAA tournaments and seven WNIT invites. She had 20 wins or more in 12 of the past 18 seasons.
She released the following statement.
“After a great deal of thought, I’ve decided the time is right for me to retire as head coach at the University of Delaware and move on to the next chapter of my life. Delaware basketball has been my passion for over 20 years and I am going to miss it. I’ve been fortunate to work with very driven and loyal assistant coaches, talented student-athletes, great teams, and supportive fans. I would like to thank all of the athletic directors I have worked with at UD, including Bernard Muir and Eric Ziady and especially Edgar Johnson who hired me 21 years ago. My staff and I have established an outstanding winning tradition and I will always be proud of my legacy at the University of Delaware.”
Martin was named conference coach of the year three times and coached WNBA star Elena Delle Donne, who was the second overall pick in the WNBA draft and won Rookie of the Year and MVP honors.
Martin’s consistent success peaked with four conference championships.
In their final season in the America East Conference in 2000-01, her squad finished 17-1 in the league, on their way to a 26-5 campaign.
The move to the Colonial Athletic Association meant a huge hurdle was put in their way, national-power Old Dominion under head coach Wendy Larry.
Delaware went 111-40 overall in their first five seasons in the league, but had to settle for four WNIT appearances and a conference-regular season title in 2002-03.
They would win a then-program-record 26 games in 2006-07, finishing tied for second in the league, but a win over Old Dominion in the regular season helped the Blue Hens join the Lady Monarchs and James Madison as three CAA teams earned bids to the 2007 NCAA Tournament.
The floor caved in the following year, with a 7-24 record, including 1-12 outside of the league in 2007-08.
After a 15-15 campaign in 2008-09, a gift fell into her program’s lap as a Delaware product named Elena Delle Donne made a decision to resume playing basketball, and chose her home state’s top university.
The four Delle Donne years saw the Blue Hens win 104 games, and took the program to new heights.
They started with two more WNIT appearances, and a spot in the 2011 CAA championship game, but then the explosion happened.
Delaware went 63-6 over the new two seasons, being ranked as high as No. 7 in the Associated Press poll as they not only made the 2012 NCAA tournament, but won their program’s first post-season game at Arkansas-Little Rock as a No. 3 regional seed.
2013 brought Martin and the Hens news they would host the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, and despite Delle Donne beginning to battle what would turn out to be Lyme Disease, they again won the CAA, and took advantage of their hosting opportunity.
A 78-69 win over West Virginia was followed by a 78-69 upset of No. 3-seed North Carolina, sending the Blue Hens to the Sweet 16 in Brideport, Connecticut.
Delaware would get close late, but Kentucky’s tenacious defense eventually wore down the Hens in a 69-62 defeat, ending the career of Delle Donne and a 7-player senior class.
Despite the momentum at that point, Martin’s squad has fallen back to the pack in the four years since.
One final WNIT apperance came at the end of a 20-11 season in 2013-2014, making her 0-7 in the secondary post-season tournament.
The last three years her squads went 47-46, finishing no better than 4th in conference play, as James Madison and Drexel have stepped to the forefront in the league.
Martin was a basketball star at Lock Haven University and was an assistant at Lock Haven and Seton Hall before taking the head coaching job at Delaware in 1996.
Martin’s top assistant for her entire time with the program, Jeanine Radice, has been named the interim head coach. The school said in a statement they will begin a national search for Martin’s replacement.