Glenn Martinez, a shining light in athletics and education for many decades in the San Gabriel Valley, and the CIF Southern Section assistant commissioner since 2011, died Friday of cancer at age 63.
Martinez was an athletic director, baseball coach and assistant football coach at Bishop Amat and later became an assistant principal and coach at Charter Oak high before moving on to the CIF-SS.
At the CIF-SS offices Martinez oversaw football, baseball and boys and girls wrestling.
He died surrounded by family and friends at the City of Hope in Duarte. He was living in Huntington Beach.
“Glenn Martinez was a valued member of our CIF Southern Section family who did an outstanding job in service to our organization during his tenure as an assistant commissioner,” said CIF-SS Commissioner of Athletics Rob Wigod. “The outpouring of love and support from so many people who Glenn impacted has been incredible, which speaks to the difference that he made in his time with us.
“I will miss him tremendously and will do all I can to keep his legacy alive. Our hearts go out to his loving wife Yolanda, their daughters Marissa and Lynette and their son Anthony.”
Martinez is well known for his coaching days at Bishop Amat, where he had a successful run during some of the best times of Bishop Amat athletics.
Martinez was Bishop Amat’s athletic director from 1979 to 1998 and was the head baseball coach for 19 years, compiling a 254-80-1 record. He won seven league titles and won the CIF-SS Division 1 title in 1996 and was a runner-up in 1995.
Martinez is still the only baseball coach at Bishop Amat to ever win a Division 1 baseball title, something he always proudly reminded folks whenever the conversation turned to the history of Lancers baseball.
He coached players like Michael Young, Mike Lamb, Danny Haren, Gabe Alvarez and J.R. Phillips, who all went on to play in Major League Baseball. Alvarez is a currently an assistant baseball coach at USC.
Bishop Amat football coach Steve Hagerty knew him well, and the two go way back.
“Personally, my heart aches for the Martinez family,” Hagerty said. “It was such a sudden and tragic loss for them, his colleagues at the CIF Office, Charter Oak High School, and the Bishop Amat family.
“For me, he was a genuine mentor, a favorite colleague and a trusted friend. He taught me how to watch film and scout an opponent as a young football coach in the mid-to-late 80’s. He forever changed the course of Bishop Amat baseball with his passion and unrelenting work ethic. But mostly, he helped steer so many students in the proper direction in the ‘game’ of life with his genuine concern and frankness.
“I always appreciated his candor because I knew in his very unique way he was telling me what I needed to hear, and not what I wanted to hear. He will be missed by many, but his legacy and the memories will keep him near for a very long time.”
Richard and Kathy Wiard both knew Martinez well. Richard coached the very successful girls basketball teams for many years. Kathy also coached softball at Bishop Amat and later was the principal at Charter Oak during Martinez’s tenure there.
“Glenn came to Bishop Amat when I was a sophomore in high school and I have known him ever since,” Richard Wiard said. “The measure of a man is the impact he had on the people in his life. As a coach, Glenn had a tremendous impact on the lives of his players off the field as well as on it.
“So many of them proudly say they wouldn’t be the fine men they are today if it wasn’t for Coach Martinez’s guidance and love. He loved his players and they loved him more. For us personally we learned so much about being a coach from him. We learned that you can never work too hard – no one ever worked harder at coaching than Glenn. As a coach, his attention to detail, organization and preparation were extraordinary – his teams were always prepared for anything and everything.”
Martinez also spent 15 years as a varsity assistant football coach for Bishop Amat where he helped lead the Lancers to CIF-SS championships in 1992 and 1995, and also was part of three finalist teams in 1983, ’88 and ’94.
Daylon McCutcheon, a running back on the 1992 championship team who later went on to play for USC and in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns, had fond memories of his former coach.
“Coach Martinez was a big inspiration for me at a crucial time in my life,” McCutcheon said. “As my running back coach he challenged me and was able to help me put in one of the best seasons in Amat history. As much as I respected him as a coach I respected him as a man much more.
“Growing up without a father in the house I leaned on my coaches and he definitely had a big impact on my success on and off the field. He was a special man and will be missed.”
Chris Rix, a Fox Sports analyst for high school football who played baseball and football for Martinez while at Bishop Amat from 1996-98, said he learned to appreciate Martinez more over the years.
Rix had some troubles while at Amat, which is why he transferred to Santa Margarita for his senior season and later played at Florida State.
“For me, playing football and baseball for him, I can tell you I wasn’t in a place in my life where I could truly appreciate him as a coach and as a man,” Rix said. “At Fox, the first time I saw him on the sidelines I apologized for being a young punk and he said, ‘It’s alright Chris, we all go through those stages.’
“Every time I would see him at games after that, I always gave him a hug and said great to see you coach, and I would either take a picture with him or of him, just to honor all the young men he’s impacted. Over the years I’ve been trying to honor him and make up for the time I didn’t appreciate him when I was in high school. He’s such a great man and will be missed by so many.”
Mark Paredes, Bishop Amat’s head football coach of the 1992 championship team, remembered his friend.
“He was an outstanding coach and mentor of young men,” Paredes said. “He was a hard worker and great example for the people around him. He was thorough, on the spot and a great communicator. All those things are what helped him land at one of the highest offices of CIF.
“It’s a sad day. He was personable, like telling stories and for a lot of kids, they looked up to him like a father.”
Tom Salter was the head football coach on the 1995 Amat championship team with Martinez.
“I think the world of Glenn,” Salter said. “He was in my wedding party. We were very close. He has a terrific family and he’s meant so much to my life and my family that I can’t tell you how much he meant.
“I don’t know if I would have done the things I’ve done without the support of Glenn Martinez. Glenn was a terrific coach and teacher. He was everything at Bishop Amat those years. With Glenn, you were all in, it was total commitment, loyalty and dedication. He really prepared his players for going to college and doing something with their lives. He just had incredible values.”
Ray Lokar was one of the boys basketball coaches at Bishop Amat during years that Martinez was there, and shared his thoughts on social media.
“My years sharing the AD’s office with Glenn and (former football coach) Mark Paredes were among my favorite professional years of my career,” Lokar said. “The teamwork in the office was rare and the accomplishments were great. It was never about Glenn, always about the Lancers.”
Martinez left Amat to teach Charter Oak, starting in 1998 and later became the vice principal of student services and athletics in 2002. He also served one year as its varsity baseball coach.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Martinez family during this difficult time,” said Charter Oak principal Joey Strycula, who was a football player at Charter Oak himself. “Glenn was one of a kind; a true advocate for kids, sports, family and friends who will be missed by so many in the Charter Oak family. God bless Glenn.”
Martinez worked at Charter Oak until 2011, when he landed what he called his “dream job” at the CIF-SS.
“I am truly excited,” said Martinez at the time of his hiring in 2011. “This was my dream job and when Commissioner Wigod called me this morning to offer me the position he made my dreams come true.”
Martinez graduated in 1973 from Franklin High School in Los Angeles where he played football and baseball.
Martinez earned a bachelor’s degree in History from California State University, Northridge in 1993. He also earned a master’s degree in Administrative Education from Azusa Pacific in 2000 and a second masters in Sports Administration from the United States Sports Academy in 2007.
Wigod shared some personal thoughts in an open letter about Martinez.
“For those who did not know him well, Glenn might have appeared to be quiet and reserved in his demeanor,” Wigod wrote. “Nothing could be further from the truth. He had a great sense of humor, liked to inject some sarcasm into his comments and really enjoyed a good laugh.
“Here are some other things you may not know about Glenn. He was an outstanding baker. Chocolate cake, lemon bars, brownies, you name it. He was a big Disneyland fan, as an annual pass holder, which him and his wife Yolanda used constantly, and you could find him and Yolanda anytime and anywhere that Big Bad Voodoo Daddy was playing.”
Source: Orange County Register