Ryan Martin has stepped down as the boys varsity basketball coach at Nokomis Regional High School and will become the school's assistant principal on July 1, 2020. Credit: Courtesy of Nokomis Regional High School

Ryan Martin is turning in his whistle as head coach of the Nokomis boys varsity basketball team to join the Newport school’s administrative team.

Martin recently was approved as the new assistant principal at Nokomis and will assume those duties beginning July 1.

“This is the next step in my journey through education,” he said. “We have a really good school and a really good community, so I just hope to be able to help move that along, improve it and be a positive influence any way I can.”

Martin’s successor as basketball coach has not yet been hired, Nokomis athletic administrator Mark Babin said.

Martin coached at Nokomis for the last six years, but school administration has long been a career goal for the 2006 Dexter Regional High School graduate.

“It’s always been something I’ve thought about,” he said. “As soon as I started teaching I looked up to the leaders in the school and really saw myself doing that at some point.”

Martin began pursuing a graduate degree 3 1/2 years ago through the University of New England’s online program and earned his master’s last December.

“At that point I was ready and really interested in looking around, and it was just one of those things where I got lucky,” Martin said. “The position opened up here and I love Nokomis, the district, the school and the community.

“I had been coaching in the district for six years and teaching here for three years, so this was the place I wanted to be.”

Martin said he’ll miss coaching, but his new job will enable him to continue interacting with students.

“It’s all about relationships,” he said. “There’s a great camaraderie with other coaches that you coach against and coach with, and there are the relationships you build with your players and the competitiveness that comes with that.

“Those are all things that I’ll miss, but the silver lining is that I’ll still get to be in the building and be around my players and still get to connect with them as well as all the other students. I’ll still have those relationships. I’ll just be in a different role now.”

Athletics was a big part of Martin’s life growing up in Ripley — not far from the demarcation line between the Dexter and Nokomis school districts.

Martin played soccer, baseball and basketball at Dexter Regional High School, with Martin’s basketball team coached by Peter Murray capturing the 2005 Eastern Maine Class C championship.

After graduating from the University of Maine at Farmington, Martin began his career in education at Messalonskee High School in Oakland, where he taught and coached the boys’ junior varsity basketball team.

Messalonskee made three Class A tournament appearances during Martin’s four years as an assistant under head coach Peter McLaughlin, including a trip to the 2015 Class A North championship game.

Martin replaced Carl Parker as head coach at Nokomis beginning with the 2015-16 season while still teaching at Messalonskee.

Martin’s coaching stint with the Warriors was highlighted by Class A North tournament appearances in 2017 and 2018. Nokomis went 11-7 in 2017 to reach the regional quarterfinals and finished second in the final Heal points a year later with a 12-6 record and advanced to the semifinals.

The Warriors struggled in 2018 and 2019 but rebounded to finish 5-7 in pool play during the abbreviated 2020-21 season. The Warriors figure to be on the upswing again next winter, buoyed by a talented incoming freshman class led by twins Cooper and Ace Flagg.

“We took a nice step in the right direction last winter and really improved a lot during the course of the year,” said Martin, who has taught social studies at Nokomis for the last three years. “This community is great. They really love basketball and support it so it’s going to be a good job for whoever comes in.”

Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...