New athletic director to shake up department

The continuous rotation of coaches and athletic directors inprevious years at Dillard has been a hot topic on campus in recentyears. And now, the arrival of a new academic year heralds a newcoach and athletic director. This year, Robin Martin has beenselected to serve as Dillard’s new athletic director, and withMartin in charge, things will definitely get shaken up.

Martin said she has strived to achieve and portray a life ofexcellence. The Knoxville, Tenn. native attended Rule High School,where she played various sports such as basketball, volleyball andtrack and field. “I have some skills,” Martin said.

Martin went on to further her education at the University of NewOrleans where she played as a center for the women’s basketballteam for four years. Upon graduation, Martin received herbachelor’s degree in English and her master’s degree in education.Martin has also completed 30 hours toward a Ph.D. She plans toreturn to finish her Ph.D in the fall of 2005.

Although Martin graduated from UNO, she has spent a lot of timehere at Dillard. Martin served as the assistant coach of thewomen’s basketball team two years ago for three years. She saidthat one of her advantages is that she has the experience of beingon all sides as an administrator, coach and athlete. “It makes youbalanced. I understand the plight of both the coach and theathlete,” Martin said.

Martin went through one-and-a-half weeks of intense trainingwith the National Association of Collegiate Women in AthleticAdministration at Bryn Mawr College in Philadelphia, Pa. “It wasschool,” she said. “We were in class from sun up to sun down.”

According to Martin, the NACWAA is one of the most prestigiousorganizations for women and provides training in order to be anathletic director. “I was able to work with some of the pioneers,”she said, calling the names of Joan Conren, University ofTennessee; Diane Murphy, University of Minnesota; and Peggy Davis,Virginia State University.

Martin said that the Dillard’s athletic department is in need ofsome changes. The first improvement she would like to make is toobtain some stability. “There hasn’t been any stability in thepast. When I was here, there were three different athleticdirectors within three years,” Martin said.

She also said that there has been a lot of rotation in the men’sbasketball office. “I don’t plan to go anywhere anytime soon,”Martin said.

The second improvement Martin plans to make is to increasefundraising efforts for the program. She said that although theathletic department hasn’t been a “big money-maker” for Dillard,the administration has done an adequate job in funding the program.”We have to do fundraisers. I want to get more scholarship moneyfor our athletes,” Martin said.

She also said that she is in the process of soliciting peoplewho want to donate money to Dillard.

Martin also plans to get the community involved by asking fortheir support. “Dillard has a really good product. I want people torealize that our athletes have gone on to be successful on and offthe court,” Martin said. “It’s about time we toot our own horn alittle.”

According to Martin, in order to be a good athletic director,you must have the ability to sacrifice yourself for the good of allinvolved. “It takes complete honesty and the willingness to getdown and do whatever it takes to make the program successful,” shesaid. “If it means sweeping the floor before the game or helpingset up the volleyball net before a game, then that’s what I’ll do.”She said her job is to make others’ jobs around her bearable.

In an effort to elevate the program to the standards thatDillard can be proud of, Martin said that the athletic teams needthe support of the students and staff.

“The student body has done an excellent job of supporting themen and women’s basketball teams, but we have other sports liketennis, cross-country and volleyball that they should support aswell,” Martin said. “It’s our community and we all are apart ofit.”