CHAMPAIGN — The St. Thomas Extra boys’ and women’ basketball groups will begin their respective 2021-22 seasons beneath the management of a fourth head coach within the final 5 seasons.
The Sabers’ newest decisions to fill these roles are acquainted faces on the world prep hoops scene: Brandon Martin will coach the STM boys’ program and Scott Easton will fill that function for the women’ staff.
Martin replaces Andrew Turner, who stepped apart final month after one season with STM. Turner knowledgeable The Information-Gazette his determination was based mostly upon the stressors of balancing two varsity-coaching jobs — he’s additionally Monticello’s golf coach — along with his full-time work and private life.
“I’ve utilized at St. Thomas Extra earlier than. It simply wasn’t the right timing. However that is the right timing,” Martin mentioned. “I’m able to construct a program and be long-term at STM. I’m actually trying ahead to it.”
Easton will substitute Jon Marston as the women’ coach.
Marston, who guided the Sabers the final two seasons, is STM’s athletic director and can stay in that place he’s held since 2019.
Easton was briefly in line to teach the STM women’ staff again in 2019 earlier than withdrawing for private causes and Marston ultimately chosen to switch him.
“It was a really busy yr as an athletic director when every little thing bought going with sports activities at STM,” Marston mentioned. “I felt that I used to be not placing sufficient time in for the women’ program with my duties as an AD. … I’m actually excited for Scott to take over this system. It’s in good palms.”
“It’s a blessing to have the chance to teach basketball at STM once more,” mentioned Easton, who led the Saber women’ first varsity marketing campaign of 2003-04. “You solely get so many probabilities to teach in life. I really love to show the sport, and I’m very keen about it.”
Martin was a boys’ basketball assistant coach at LeRoy through the condensed 2021 season. Previous to that, Martin spent two seasons because the Blue Ridge boys’ basketball coach and 6 seasons filling that very same function at Pontiac.
“Longevity’s a giant deal. I feel that’s what (STM officers) had been in search of, and that’s what I’m in search of, as effectively,” the 35-year-old Martin mentioned. “This isn’t a one-and-done, by any means. I feel this can be a place you possibly can actually construct a program and develop a tradition.”
The STM boys posted an 8-4 file through the 2021 season and final received an regional championship in 2014 beneath Matt Kelley when the Sabers superior to the Elite Eight in Class 1A. Kelley left this system in 2018, after which Alex Anderson spent two seasons teaching the Sabers earlier than Turner ultimately took over.
Martin’s two Blue Ridge groups compiled data of 16-16 within the 2018-19 season and 8-22 within the 2019-2020 season. He additionally sported a 56-104 cumulative mark with one regional title at Pontiac between 2011 and 2017.
“I do know there’s some very gifted gamers throughout the college,” Martin mentioned. “Hopefully, we will stand up and down (the courtroom) and power the problem and actually velocity the sport up.”
Easton, 64, substitute teaches at STM and mentioned the Sabers’ administration reached out to him asking if he’d be fascinated about succeeding Marston as women’ basketball coach. Marston notched a 13-18 file in his two seasons operating the staff.
Easton is the sixth coach for the Sabers since STM received a Class 2A state title in 2014 beneath Chris Mennig. Former Illini males’s basketball assistant coach Jay Value coached STM for 2 seasons till 2016, then Tom Garriott did for 2 seasons, Ashley VanEtten for a single season and Marston the final two seasons.
STM final received a postseason championship in 2016 beneath Value with a 3A regional title.
Amongst Easton’s different space basketball head-coaching stints included teaching the Armstrong-Potomac women’ staff for one season in 1999-2000 that resulted in an 11-15 file. He guided the Sabers to a 21-9 file within the 2003-04 season after which went 15-33 throughout two seasons teaching the Uni Excessive boys’ basketball staff from 2013 by way of 2015.
“It’s been a labor of affection for me wherever I’ve gone,” Easton mentioned. “What higher exercise to pursue and luxuriate in than to show basketball to an amazing group of younger women.”
Curiously, Easton and his spouse truly shall be spending among the upcoming summertime residing in Wyoming — an expertise he mentioned they’ve desired for a while. However Easton added that he’ll all the time be again in Champaign each time the women are capable of observe forward of their new season.
“I’ll spend virtually all of June within the gymnasium with the women as a result of that’s when the college permits for that to occur,” Easton mentioned. “My purpose for the gamers is to develop of their Christian religion day-after-day and to make use of basketball as a automobile to show humility when occasions are good, and to have braveness when occasions get powerful.”
Colin Likas covers Illinois soccer and highschool sports activities at The Information-Gazette. He will be reached at email@example.com, or on Twitter at @clikasNG.