Taren Martin enters her second season as the associate head coach of the women's basketball program. Martin joins head coach Randy Norton after three years as the head coach at NCAA Division III Eureka College from 2010-13.
In her first season with UAB, the Blazers finished 16-15 overall and 7-9 in Conference USA play. Seniors Karisma Chapman earned first-team all-conference honors and fellow senior Ashley Grimes was named second-team all-conference.
During her time in Eureka, Ill., Martin turned the Red Devils into one of the top programs in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. This past season, she led her team to a 16-9 record a year after guiding Eureka to 21 wins in 2011-12, marking just the fourth time in program history that the Red Devils have posted 20-plus victories.
In 2012, Martin garnered SLIAC Coach of the Year honors, while mentoring 2012 SLIAC Player of the Year Caty Eeten. In addition to her coaching duties, Martin was an assistant athletic director and Senior Women's Administrator at Eureka College.
Under Martin, Eureka's 12-win improvement from 2010-11 to 2011-12 proved to be the largest single-season improvement in program history, and the Red Devils' 13 wins in SLIAC action were the most league victories by a Eureka women's basketball squad since EC began conference-affiliated competition at the Division III level in 1996-97. In all, Martin has won 46 games in three seasons.
In her first season (2010-11) as head coach, Martin guided the Red Devils to nine wins and a sixth-place finish in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, the Red Devils' highest league finish since the 2006-07 season. Her nine victories were the second-most by a head coach in a debut season in Eureka women's basketball history.
Martin's first season saw the emergence of several new faces, including Eeten, who earned the SLIAC's Newcomer of the Year and D3Hoops.com Central Region Rookie of the Year awards in her first season in the Eureka backcourt. In all, the Red Devils earned two SLIAC Player of the Week awards and Brown was one of three players in the league to rank among the top-five in scoring, rebounding and minutes played.
Martin's 2010-11 squad also proved to be one Eureka's top 3-point shooting teams, as the Red Devils set what was then a new single-season school record with 109 3-point baskets made. Eureka also set single-game records during the 2010-11 season with 114 points scored, 11 3-point field goals made and 35 assists in a victory over Lincoln Christian on Jan. 20, 2011. The Red Devils also broke the single-game steals record with 41 thefts against the Red Lions on Feb. 9, 2011.
The Red Devils also excelled in the classroom under Martin's watch, posting a cumulative grade point average of 3.2 as a team, while five student-athletes from the program were named to the SLIAC All-Academic Team during her time in Eureka.
A native of Savannah, Mo., Martin comes from a family of outstanding athletes. Her dad was inducted into the Missouri Western State University Athletic Hall of Fame, having earned two-time All-America honors for baseball. He is also a member of the Missouri State Cross Country/Track Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Martin's sister, Jaime (O'Brien) Dial, won two Missouri state titles in tennis and track. She went on to Missouri Western State University where she played basketball and tennis. Having those two individuals as mentors, Martin had big shoes to fill.
Martin graduated from Savannah High School in Savannah, Mo. where she was a three-sport All-Missouri State athlete in tennis, basketball and track. As starting point guard, she led her basketball team to a second-place state finish three times. She also brought home a second place state medal in track for the 4x800 relay.
Martin played her collegiate basketball at Division I Illinois State University in Normal, Ill. She began her four-year playing career for the Redbirds in 2000, eventually helping ISU to one of its greatest turnarounds in program history. As a senior during the 2003-04 season, Martin averaged 11.4 points, 4.6 assists and 2.6 steals per game in leading the Redbirds to a fifth-place finish in the Missouri Valley Conference and a 16-13 record, a nine-win improvement from the previous season and team's best record since 1996-97.
Martin received Illinois State's Jill Hutchison Endowed Scholarship in 2003 and the Jill Hutchison Coach's Award for leadership and performance for her efforts during her senior season. Martin was the first Illinois State player to record 300 assists, 250 made free throws, 150 steals and 100 three-point field goals.
After playing four seasons as a player for the Redbirds, Martin began her coaching career in 2004 with two-time Missouri Valley Coach of the Year and current University of Missouri women's basketball head coach Robin Pingeton. Martin served as a graduate assistant for one year before being named Illinois State's first Director of Women's Basketball Operations while completing her master's degrees in communication.
In addition to her coaching duties, Martin oversaw the day-to-day operations of the program, worked with the guards and did tireless work behind the scenes. She also developed communication plans, organized day-to-day activities, community service work, public relations and marketing. Martin was a vital part in rebuilding Illinois State's program which saw the Redbirds win three conference titles and make five trips to the postseason in seven years, including back-to-back WNIT semifinal appearances in 2009 and 2010.
Formerly Taren O'Brien, she married Patrick Martin in 2005. They have three children, daughter Ryleigh (7), son Jackson (6) and son Tyson (2).