Billy Martin needed time away after his father’s death. Now, he’s back coaching at Moore – Courier Journal

Posted: September 9, 2020 at 10:53 am


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Billy Martin describes himself as a high-spirited personality who could always light up a room or disarm people with his charm. But he was in a much different place just a few years ago.

In 2015, Martin was coming off a 3-7 season at North Oldham, and the school was looking to take the football program in a different direction. The health of Martin's father, William MartinSr., had also taken a turn for the worse during that time, so he left his coaching job to take care of him.

My dad had a couple of mini-strokes, he said. After spring break, I resigned, and I was taking care of my dad (while) finishing out the school year.

The elder Martin had surgery over the summer, and Billy continued to make the drive to Henderson to take care of him as he recovered. On June 5, 2016, Billy had breakfast with his father in the morning before being sent out to get a lift chair.

While on the errand, Billy got a distressed call from his fathers caretaker. His father had killed himself.

I come in the house. She thought he had another stroke or spell, said Billy, who had also learned that his wifes grandmother had passed away the day before. I saw the gun at his feet.I sat there and held his hand until the EMTs came. I cant remember what happened that week;it was all just a blur.

Losing his father in such a tragic fashion had a profound impact on Billy for the next few years. He fell into a deep depression, which was compounded by the work he was doing to sort out his fathers affairs.

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He continued to teach at North Oldham, but his passion for coaching was severely diminished. Billy recalled his father being heavily invested in his coaching, even making the occasional trip to watch a game at North Oldham when he was able.

He would expect a phone call after every game, said Billy. We always treated him like a king and put him in the press box. (Hed) laugh about our trick plays and all the stuff that we did.

Billy didnt know how to cope with his fathers death. His health started to decline to the point where he developed Type 2 diabetes. He also didnt reach out to others to talk about how he felt, which made his sense of loneliness and isolation worse. He wishes he could have done things differently to process his grief, but there were a rough couple of years for Billy.

I didnt get any counseling, probably should have, he admitted as he rattled off some possible reasons he avoided it. Im tough, Im a football player. Im the guy everybody else calls for cheering up. I should have reached out to some of my friends to cheer me up.

But eventually, Billy got back to taking care of himself. He started exercising again and lost weight, which helped him get his diabetes under control.

There were good and bad days along the way, but Billy as he began to progress, herealized he was missing something in his life.

That was football, he said. Im a football dude. I was tired and depressed for a couple years, but I wasnt doing what I was meant to do. Thats teach and coach.

As he recovered, Billy started looking for new teaching and coaching opportunities before finally landing at Moore last year. He started as a middle school social studies teacher before being offered the football head coaching job in February.

Billy feels like he has a new lease on life now that hes back on the sidelines.

Ive dug in with both feet, he said. (Im) working my tail off to build a program everyone can be proud of. I miss helping the kids grow. Thats what I enjoy.

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Martins rejuvenation has him showing up at the field at 1 p.m. when practice doesnt start until 5:30 p.m. Its been a challenge trying to navigate the landscape given the new procedures put in place because of COVID-19, but Billy is excited about getting another chance to compete and help his players grow through football.

It took him a while to get out of the fog, but now hes back where he belongs and is looking forward to giving his all to the Moore Mustangs.

I love coaching, and I love what football does for kids, he said. Ill be the first car in and the last car out.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741 for help.

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Billy Martin needed time away after his father's death. Now, he's back coaching at Moore - Courier Journal

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September 9th, 2020 at 10:53 am

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