Angel Martinez has played soccer, football and tennis most of  his life – but he didn’t think he would ever become a college tennis coach.

Martinez, who coached at Grapevine High School for 16 years, was contemplating retirement before being hired by Texas Wesleyan in 2014; the women’s tennis team returned to play after a 13-year absence last fall.

He was offered the job by Athletic Director Steve Trachier, who he worked with at Grapevine.

“When he (Trachier) left, we became more than athletic director/coach,” Martinez said. “We became friends. We have a very similar philosophy, what we want out of our student athletes. When he took the job at Wesleyan, he said when we get a tennis program at Wesleyan I’d be on his list.”

Trachier said Martinez is as good as they come.

“He’s a kid magnet, and a man of integrity,” Trachier said. He’s good for kids, he cares about them builds relationships with them, their families, and he exemplifies everything we want in a coach.”

The irony is, tennis wasn’t even Martinez’s main sport when he was growing up as a self-described army brat. He moved around a lot, living in Germany and Fort Bliss in El Paso, but he spent almost all of his childhood in Madrid, Spain.

“I absolutely loved the culture in Spain,” Martinez said. “Definitely different than it was here in America. There a lot of people are very friendly.”

Moving from Spain to America was scary because growing up on an Air Force base he lived a sheltered life, with his mom Nery working and his dad Angel spending a lot of time working at the U.S. Embassy in Spain.

“I remember getting on a military standby flight, landed at McGuire Airforce Base and having to catch another flight to El Paso,” Martinez said.

Growing up, Martinez’s main sport was soccer. But, he said, he really enjoyed playing tennis more, but didn’t actually get started playing tennis until his sophomore year in high school.

“There was a girl who I really wanted to go out with,” Martinez said.  “So I asked my mom what I should do, and she said find out her interests. Well, her interest was tennis, so I taught myself how to play tennis and asked her to play. We dated for a year. She’s gone but tennis is still here.”

Martinez went on to play soccer at the University of Texas at Arlington because he was a better soccer player than he was a tennis player, but he still played intramural tennis because he loved the sport.

He didn’t play soccer for very long because “at the time soccer wasn’t big in the United States,” he said. But he played tennis all through college, and began coaching the sport because he loves it.

“I loved everything about tennis,” Martinez said. “I actually played football in high school and wanted to play in college even if it was a small school. My coach did nothing for me. So I told myself that if I ever got the opportunity to coach in high school that I would do everything in my power to help the kids get where they wanted to be.”

Martinez began coaching at the high school level in 1984 at Cedar Hill High School. He was there for 15 years and started coaching at Grapevine High School in 2003.

Martinez was named the Wilson/Texas Tennis Coaches Association 5A Coach of the Year and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Coach of the Year for the 2002/2003 season. He’s won United States Professional Tennis Association Texas High School Coach of the Year award three times, and won United States Tennis Association Starfish National Coach of the Year award in 2009.

Transitioning from high school to college has been a learning experience, Martinez said.

“I had a situation and I had handled it like I would a high school team,” he said, “and the kids got together and said, ‘Coach, really?’ And they were right, I had to back up, kind of eat crow and back up and they were right. It made our bond stronger.”

Freshman tennis player Maggie Brasher loves the way Martinez is with the players.

“He’s really good, really approachable; if you need something he will do everything he can to help you,” Brasher said.

Senior Alexa Mentesana said Martinez really cares about his players.

“And that’s something different,” she said. “It’s like family – he’s almost like a dad.”

Martinez grades the fall season an A+.

“I love the way the team came together,” he said. “They’re a really tight-knit group of girls.”

Wesleyan posted a successful fall 2015 campaign, winning 57 singles matches, 31 doubles matches and winning one dual competition match, according to ramsports.net.

 “If you had told me, going into the fall season, that you’re going to win a championship in every single tournament that you go in except for one and defeat some Division I and Division II schools in those matches, I would’ve said no way,” Martinez said.

Martinez said there’s one thing he has learned throughout his coaching experience

“I’ve learned I don’t know everything,” he said. “There’s always places to learn. I learn from other coaches, I learn from drills and I always learn from my players.”

“And that’s something different,” she said. “It’s like family – he’s almost like a dad.”

Martinez grades the fall season an A+.

“I love the way the team came together,” he said. “They’re a really tight-knit group of girls.”

Wesleyan posted a successful fall 2015 campaign, winning 57 singles matches, 31 doubles matches and winning one dual competition match, according to ramsports.net.

 “If you had told me, going into the fall season, that you’re going to win a championship in every single tournament that you go in except for one and defeat some Division I and Division II schools in those matches, I would’ve said no way,” Martinez said.

Martinez said there’s one thing he has learned throughout his coaching experience

“I’ve learned I don’t know everything,” he said. “There’s always places to learn. I learn from other coaches, I learn from drills and I always learn from my players.”

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Michael Acosta

Michael Acosta

Michael Acosta is a senior mass communications major graduating in the spring. He is a sports reporter and host of sports access for Rambler TV. He has been part of the Rambler since January of 2015.
His awards include:
2nd Place – Best in Show (The Rambler Vol. 99 Issue 2) in which he wrote two sports stories.
After graduation he hopes to land a job working for the Minnesota Twins. He is also a five year testicular cancer survivor.

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