Scott Martens is making a difference again for the South Delta Sun Devils.
The former standout player and 1999 SDSS graduate is back working at his old school as a teacher and volunteer head coach of the Sun Devils junior varsity team. Martens becomes the first staff member involved with the football program in well over a decade.
He landed a full-time position at the Tsawwassen school just over a year ago and ironically it was right around the time of the Brian Higgins Memorial Game. It was the former Sun Devils coach who not only worked with Martens as a player but was a major influence in launching his coaching career.
“The year after graduating I was working and figuring out if I was going to go back to school. I asked him if he needed help and he said sure,” recalled Martens. “But (the relationship) actually started back in Grade 10 when I did stats for the team. It was my way to get to all the road games and do other stuff with the team.
“For me, coaching is about recognizing the people who gave a lot to me over the years. I think about coach Higgins and (former Rams community coach) Al Charuk. I feel like I have benefitted a lot from people who invested in me.”
Martens would later coach alongside former Sun Devil assistant Mike MacKay-Dunn at Earl Marriott Secondary in 2006 when he was working as youth pastor at Peace Portal Alliance Church. He eventually earned his teaching degree at Simon Fraser in 2013 and that helped land him a job at the South Surrey school where he continued to coach up until last season.
“It was a great school. I was never going to leave there unless it was for a position here. (My hometown) is the only place I would rather want to be,” said Martens.
His arrival at SDSS was terrific news for longtime head coach Ray Moon who began the 2017 campaign guiding both the senior and junior varsity teams. He asked Martens to become involved immediately — even though he was still finishing up his coaching duties at Marriott — and then passed the JV head duties on to him.
As much as Moon has a wonderful support team around him of community volunteer coaches, having a staff member involved now gives the program more presence from within the school. That’s even more important in an era where registration numbers are lower of potential players coming through the community level.
Martens is also involved in various roles with the senior team which benefits the entire program.
“We are trying to keep this with as much integration as we can. We want the same language (between the two teams) on offence and defence. I have had to learn all their terminology so I was kind of like a player coming into the program,” he explained.
How much does Martens enjoy volunteer coaching? Enough that he wouldn’t be teaching without the opportunity.
“For me it’s one of the main reasons I am a teacher and don’t know if I would be if I wasn’t coaching and doing those other things on the outside,” added Martens who also helps out with the school’s rugby program. “I think it gives more credibility from within the school and it helps me get to know students better in different ways.”
Martens’ JV team closes out its season on Thursday when Belmont visits Tsawwassen.