Derrick Martin is no stranger to a championship atmosphere. The 2003 graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School has been to the very top of the highest mountain when it comes to football. Among his collection of memorabilia from his time in the NFL are two Super Bowl rings. One with the Green Bay Packers and one with the New York Giants. Martin's last season in the NFL was 2013 and it was in March of 2016 that he was chosen to revitalize his alma mater. This year, his efforts have paid off as he has the Spartans sitting at 4-0 after a 44-0 win over Northfield on Friday. His path through high school football, a Division I college program and the NFL has been one that he feels fortunate enough to be able to share with kids once stood in his very shoes. "I can say that most of my (learning) experiences are from high school," he said. "It's crazy because not too much has changed at Thomas Jefferson in terms of the hallways so I can put myself in their same environment and guide them and tell them things that I didn't do that I wish I would have." Having the chance to offer up life lesson is just as valuable to Martin as being able to pass on football lessons. He buys into his kids as human beings and not as football players. They've rewarded him by taking care of what he asks them to on and off the field. For that reason, Martin was selected as this week's Denver Broncos High School Coach of the Week.
Years as a head coach: 3 (20-5 overall record)
Years at Thomas Jefferson: 3 (20-5, 4-0 this season)
Previous coaching stops: None.
Q: Why do you coach?
Martin: I coach for the kids. I like being out there with the kids just to be out there and drop some knowledge on them and hopefully some lifelong lessons that they can pick up as human beings.
Q: What do you think it's like for your players to be coached by a former D-I standout and Super Bowl champion?
Martin: I think it's hard. I have high expectations for my guys and I've been in the same situation as a lot of them so I can put myself in their shoes. They know I'm telling the truth. Anything that comes out of my mouth is first-hand experience.
Q: What are your favorite coaching memories?
Martin: Oh man, I don't know. It was fun to beat (Denver) South this year. South has been a powerhouse in the DPS for several years. To play them for the first time in a long time and beat them was pretty awesome.
Q: Does this experience, especially starting 4-0 this year, let you go back and remember just how much fun the high school football world is?
Martin: Yeah, it's funny, I was actually talking to one of my former coaches kind of about that. We're playing a (Class) 3A schedule and I feel like we have the same number of kids that we had back then (when Thomas Jefferson was 4A).
For me, it puts things in perspective of the atmosphere of the 3A, 4A, 5A landscape.
Q: From a football standpoint, how does it feel emotionally when you've accomplished something like winning a Super Bowl compared to having a kid grow and develop according to the plan you've built for him?
Martin: It's crazy. I have a running back who I think is the best in the state in Daveon Hunter. He just turned 16. He's just a kid. We had to tell him his freshman year that he had to workout, he had to watch film and to see that he's done that and now that he's on the field and he's not supposed to be there is an accomplishment. You give these guys the potion and once they figure it out, it's astonishing to see how it changes their passion for the game.