Though he's entering into one of the most high profile prep coaching jobs in Wisconsin, new Germantown boys basketball coach Steve Martin is maintaining perspective.
It's something he learned from another Germantown legend, one from another sport.
'I remember seeing this quote somewhere,' Martin said. 'Someone asked Phil (the late Warhawks' football coach Datka) after one of his state titles, 'How did you do that?' and he said, 'If it were as easy as answering that question, I'd put it in a bottle and do it every year.'
'What Phil was always getting at was, is that there are always going to be ups and downs in this job, and it's up to you as the coach to provide good stewardship in both situations.'
Martin was named to take over the program built by Steve Showalter on May 5, after interim coach Mark Adams stepped down after one season.
The Warhawks, who won state titles in 2012, 2013, and 2014 under coach Steve Showalter, and who have claimed ownership of the North Shore Conference title for the last seven years, are entering a transition phase after a series of strong senior classes, including this most recent one that included Now All-Suburban choices Juwan McCloud and Max Keefe.
Martin said he is ready for it.
He is a product of several successful systems and an interesting set of career choices. A multisport athlete at the Madison suburb of Marshall (graduate of 1990), he went to UW-Whitewater and shifted gears into the world of finance and business.
'I always wanted to be a business education teacher, but I felt it was important to get experience in the business world first,' he said, 'so I became a stock broker for Strong Funds in the Falls around 1995 where I was active in as many aspects of the job as I could, including management, sales and human resources.'
He said that Strong was always very supportive of his idea of going back into teaching and helped him along as he continued to work at the firm and on his master's degree at UW-Whitewater.
Martin, who had moved to Germantown in 1999, student-taught at Germantown in early 2004 where he was first put in touch with the still-growing basketball program, working with freshmen coach Jason Baumann
There were no full-time teaching positions available in his field at Germantown at the time, so he landed a job at Waukesha South, where he assisted with the South girls basketball team under the legendary Blackshirts coach Paul Darling from 2004-07. He also worked in the Blackshirts' football program with longtime South coach Dave Rusch.
He was able to get back into Germantown around 2007, and he hit the ground running. Martin is a business education teacher at Germantown, with a specific focus on the Personal Financial Literacy courses. He also leads the school's Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Club.
As noted, Martin brings balance and perspective to the job. He has been married to his wife, Amy, for close to 20 years, and they have three sons. As far as his new job goes, he is going to adopt a 'teacher-first' coaching mentality when it comes to the team.
'I've had a few talks with some of the (returning) kids already, and I've stressed that I'm going to be a teacher first,' he said. 'I want to work with the kids, help them become solid students, community members, husbands and parents. Those were all things Phil emphasized.
'Looking at the big picture, what will they be like five, 10, 15 years down the road, that's the important thing.'
Shoes to fill
But he knows the enormity of the situation and what will be expected of him and his players. It will help that he brings much in the way of Germantown sports experience into the job.
Martin has been involved with the Warhawks basketball program for 10 years, along with coaching in the Germantown football program for eight seasons. Most recently, he served as the head varsity assistant basketball coach and director of basketball operations.
He has also served as a varsity assistant, head freshman coach and an assistant camp director for the youth basketball camps.
Martin has also been a varsity football assistant coach, dating back to 2007 under Datka and more recently under head coach Jake Davis.
When Showalter suddenly left Germantown in May 2015 for a college assistant's job at Lindenwood, Missouri, his chief assistant, the former longtime Brookfield Central coach Adams, took over as an interim, with Martin becoming one of his top assistants.
In fact, the day of his hiring, Martin said he and Showalter, who was just hired to be Catholic Memorial's head coach on May 2, exchanged several happy text messages.
'No games are scheduled yet,' laughed Martin. 'I think we both have to get our feet wet first.'
He will look to put his imprint on the program right away as it will be a largely new varsity group next winter, headed up by returning honorable-mention all-conference forward Kyle Clow.
It will be his team, but he will fight to maintain the tradition that has been built wind sprint by wind sprint, hard loss after hard loss, gold ball after gold ball.
'I've said this to them (the players), that the goal is to continually be the best at what we're capable of being, that we're going to work at improving no matter what position we're in and that we're going to maintain high standards no matter our situation.'