Taren Martin was named Eureka College women’s basketball head coach by Director of Athletics Paul Bryant on May 18, 2010. Martin is the ninth head coach in program history and just the fourth women’s basketball head coach at Eureka since 1982. Martin was also named Assistant Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator effective Oct. 1, 2010.
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 career at Illinois State University. 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 spending four seasons as a player, Martin began her coaching career in 2004 with two-time Missouri Valley Coach of the Year and current University of Missouri Women’s Basketball 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 the last 7 years, including back-to-back WNIT semifinal appearances in 2009 and 2010.
“We’re very excited to welcome Coach Martin to Eureka College to lead our women’s basketball program,” Bryant said on the date of her introductory news conference last spring. “We are privileged to have chosen someone with Taren’s experience. She will bring a new level of professionalism and vigor to the Red Devils.”
Formerly Taren O’Brien, she married Patrick Martin in 2005. They have a three-year-old daughter, Ryleigh, and a two-year-old son, Jackson.