In picking its new varsity girls’ basketball coach, Handley went with someone who certainly knows the school’s hoop scene well.
Randolph Martin was hired this week to take on his fourth different basketball position since 2011. The 71-year-old Martin started off as a varsity girls’ basketball assistant for three years, moved on to the JV boys’ basketball assistant position for two seasons, and spent the last three years as the head JV boys’ basketball coach.
Martin replaced Randi Jones, who led Handley to four winning seasons in five years and an overall record of 52-53 during that time. Jones is still teaching at Handley.
Martin is a member of Douglas School’s last graduating class of 1966. He played football and basketball for the Winchester school. He spent 26 years as an official in the Winchester Basketball Association prior to coming to Handley.
At first, Martin wasn’t sure if he wanted to take on the girls’ varsity job, but he decided to do so based on the encouragement of his family.
“They just said, ‘Hey, go for it. Sooner or later you’ll want to see what you can do [as a head varsity coach],” Martin said. “I applied for the job, and here I am.”
In a news release, Handley director of student activities Reed Prosser said Martin’s players should benefit from his experience.
“We are excited about the direction of our girls’ program and are pleased to see Coach Martin named as our head coach,” Prosser said. “Coach Martin brings a great deal to the table. He understands the game ... and he is connected to the community. He understands Handley High School and what it means to represent our school.”
Martin said he places a great deal of emphasis on defensive play, and he likes to mix up his looks while doing so.
“I’m a stickler on defense,” Martin said. “Defense wins games. I like to play half-court, three-quarters court, full-court. I have a variety of defenses that I have taken in from years of coaching and being around coaching. Offensively, same way. I have several different schemes.”
Martin began his career at Handley serving as an assistant to Marvin Scott (12 years as the girls’ varsity head coach). Martin said the knowledge he’s gained from Scott, former boys’ head coach Tommy Dixon (27 years ending in 2013) and Jason Toton (Handley boys’ varsity assistant for 11 years before taking on the head coaching position in 2013) will help him going forward.
“When I first started at Handley, I was kind of raw at this,” Martin said. “All the coaches that I’ve worked with, I’ve picked up a lot of stuff.”
The Judges will lose star forward Taylor Beard and point guard Neysha Washington from this past season’s team, which went 14-8 overall, 7-5 in the Class 4 Northwestern District and lost to Liberty in the first round of the district tournament. But Handley does return All-Region 4C second-team guard McKenzie Jolliffe (a sophomore) and Class 4 All-Northwestern District honorable mention selection Kiah McFarlane, a junior forward. Only four seniors are listed on the 14-player roster.
“We’ve also got a lot of JV players moving up,” Martin said. “I’m looking forward to working with this team. This is all going to be new for everybody, even for me. Some of the girls, I don’t even know.”
Martin said he’ll be aided by two veteran coaches of the Handley girls’ program in Regina Coates and Katlyn Orndorff, who will both serve as his assistants. Coates was the girls’ JV head coach last year and Orndorff was the assistant.
“I have young coaches working under me, and they’re going to be very helpful,” said Martin, who’s not sure how many years he plans on leading the girls’ program. “[Coates] has a really good rapport with the girls, and that makes a big difference.”