Ryan Martin was elevated to head coach of the University of Hartford Hawks men’s lacrosse team on June 2, 2016. Martin, who spent the previous two seasons on the Hawks’ coaching staff as the program’s top assistant, played a key role in leading Hartford to the program’s second America East Tournament title in 2016.
Martin became the 14th coach in program history, stepping into the role vacated by Peter Lawrence, who resigned after 11 seasons to pursue an opportunity with NXT Sports. Brought on to Lawrence’s staff as the Hawks’ offensive coordinator and goalie coach prior to the start of the 2015 season, Martin was quickly promoted to Associate Head Coach by Lawrence in 2016. That season, he helped pilot the Hawks to a historic run in the America East Championship as the Hawks became the first No. 4 seed in America East history to win the conference championship and earn an NCAA Tournament berth.
“It is truly an honor to be named Head Coach of the Men’s Lacrosse Team at the University of Hartford,” exclaimed Martin. “I am beyond thankful to Director of Athletics Anton Goff and President Walter Harrison for their trust and confidence.”
The Hawks have seen strong growth on both ends of the field since Martin joined the coaching staff. Under Martin’s watch, Ryan Vanderford, a rising junior, has become one of the top goalies in the America East and in program history, ranking third in career wins (18) and ninth in saves (336).
Martin is also responsible for the growth of Dylan Jinks, who was named the 2016 America East Rookie of the Year after scoring a team-best 58 points. Rising junior Justin Huggins also saw significant improvement with Martin’s guidance, as he netted a career- and team-best 35 goals while leading the nation in shot percentage (.603). As a unit, the Hawks offense ranked just outside of the nation’s top-10 in assists (11th – 7.22 per game) and points (17th – 18.06 per game) in 2016.
The 2016 season was one for the books for the Hawks men’s lacrosse program, as Hartford posted the second-most wins in program history (11-7) and became the first team in America East history to win the conference tournament title as a four seed. The Hawks knocked off top-seeded and fourth-ranked UAlbany in the semifinals before earning the program’s second berth to the NCAA Tournament with a 17-16 win over Vermont in the championship game two days later.
Martin has been heavily involved in overseeing the team’s academics and community service outreach. Since his arrival, seven Hawks have been named to the America East All-Academic Team, including a conference-leading five this past season. In addition, Hartford has increased its footprint in the community through Team Impact, Habitat for Humanity, Junior Achievement, and the annual “Stache for Cash” fundraising initiative.
“I am extremely appreciative that Coach Lawrence took me on two years ago as his offensive coordinator and am grateful for the opportunity I had to work alongside him,” Martin continued. “Coach Lawrence built a tremendous foundation here at Hartford, and I believe through hard work, we can bring the program to new heights. I look forward to continuing to coach this tremendous group of student-athletes and I am excited to work with the alumni and parents that make up the Hartford lacrosse family for many years to come.”
Martin has been on the college coaching scene for more than 12 years, having spent four seasons as head coach at SUNY Oswego (2011-14). Prior to Oswego, he enjoyed a four-year stint as an assistant coach at Nazareth College (2007-10). Martin began his coaching career as an assistant at Hampden Sydney College in 2005 before landing at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2006, where he was named interim head coach.
During his time at SUNY Oswego, Martin was a part of a coaching staff that posted back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 1996-97. At Nazareth, In addition to working alongside eight USILA All-Americans, two Empire 8 Players of the Year, and four USILA Scholar All-America Team selections, his stint was highlighted by two Empire 8 Championships and NCAA Division III Tournament berths (2007, 2009). He was also a finalist for the National Division III Assistant Coach of the Year in his final season with the Golden Flyers.
A native of Amherst, Mass., Martin was a standout goalie at Ithaca College. In three seasons with the Bombers, he was twice named a USILA Division III All-American in 2002 and 2003. Martin was also a three-time Empire 8 All-Conference Team selection, earning second-team accolades as a sophomore before enjoying first-team honors in his final two seasons (2002, 2003). In addition, he was recognized as the Empire 8 Player of the Year in 2002, leading Ithaca to the Final Four of the NCAA Division III Tournament that season.
Martin graduated from Ithaca in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and received a master’s degree in business administration from Nazareth in 2010.