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Cody Martin Uses Wilmington College Experience to Land Athletic Director Job at Small Indiana High School

Cody Martin Uses Wilmington College Experience to Land Athletic Director Job at Small Indiana High School

Cody Martin was working as a career/guidance counselor for two small counties in Indiana through the Indiana University Advising Core. The 2021 Wilmington College alumnus was back in his home state advising high school students like his former self, from small-town Indiana. Halfway through the 2021-22 academic year, however, he began looking for other jobs.

"While the position had some benefits such as healthcare, childcare and some student loan forgiveness, I wasn't the best fit for it," said Martin. "The position is renewable every year, so I had it to fall back on, but the job wasn't my calling."

After job hunting for several months, one job on caught Martin's eye – the director of athletics at Medora High School. Despite not completely meeting the requirements, he applied for the position anyway.

"The job description sighted a teaching certificate," Martin recalled. "I obviously didn't have a teaching degree, so I applied thinking I'd never hear back."

Martin didn't hear anything for a month, but in the middle of February, he was called to the school for an interview. There, Martin was asked about the teaching certification and expected to no longer be of interest to the school. Little did he know that Medora was, in fact, very interested in hiring Martin to the district.

"Because of my Wilmington degree being in sport management, I would be able to get an emergency certification to teach both health and physical education," said Martin. "I'd eventually need to complete my full certification, which I plan to do via a local community college."

During the interview process, Martin leaned heavily on his experience at Wilmington. After all, he needed to convince Medora to hire someone who would be one of the younger athletic directors in the state of Indiana.

"I made sure to highlight my experiences working two Super Bowls, a College Football Playoff and other events," said the 23-year-old. "In every class and experience at Wilmington, we had some sort of 'hands on' aspect, whether it be selling Dayton Dragons tickets, working Hermann Madness or doing public address at athletic events. If I had gone to IU [Indiana University] or Butler, I likely would not have gotten those experiences."

Upon receiving the call to be offered the position, Martin spent a lot of his summer preparing both Medora's athletic schedules as well as the courses he is teaching. Due in part to Medora being the smallest school district in the state of Indiana as well as taking over for a previous director of athletics who served in the interim, Martin quickly realized there was a lot of work to do.

"My first priorities were getting our schedules up to date with the IHSAA [Indiana High School Athletic Association] and ensuring our coaches had their required trainings completed," Martin said. "Medora, in part due to its size, has sort of a reputation of lagging behind, and I intend on fixing that."

Luckily for Martin, his time as a student at WC prepared him will to take on this challenge. Alongside then-coordinator Micah Mills, Martin revived the College's intramural program.

"That experience was both a lot of learning as we went as well as teaching me how to run a sports organization," said Martin of his time working with WC intramurals. "No one had really done it to the extent we were trying to. Wilmington allowed me the autonomy to make mistakes, learn from them and correct them."

Martin also cites the College's nationally renowned and accredited sport management program, more specifically the practicum and internship courses as well as the sport communications class, as a key factor in preparing him for this role.

"I remember bringing in the director of the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) for an interview and it being super beneficial," Martin said. "Alan Ledford really champions networking in the program, and I directly benefited from it. I will use the knowledge I gathered from the sport management courses I took daily."

Take sports sales, for example. Though not directly in a sales position, Martin needs to be creative in finding funding for athletics. Medora is a school district that relies on grants and community support for its funding. Additionally, a majority of its students are labeled as economically disadvantaged.

"We just signed with NFHS network, which will provide live video to all Medora athletic events," said Martin. "I'll be using my experience from the sports sales course to pitch sponsors for each game or season to help offset the cost of NFHS."

It was somewhat of a coincidence that Martin came to Wilmington. He only took a visit to skip school that day.

"I took a visit to Wilmington my junior year of high school," he recalled. "I spoke with Terry Rupert for a while, did a campus tour and I knew it was where I wanted to go to school. You hear this a lot from freshman, but the family-like atmosphere drew me in almost immediately. I visited eight other colleges, and none of them came close to the feeling I had at Wilmington."

Though he took a unique path, Martin is prepared to run a high school athletics department, and Wilmington College is a big reason for that.