Kevin Martin has been around basketball all of his life, but now will have a new experience on the court as head coach.

Kevin Martin has been around basketball all of his life, but now will have a new experience on the court as head coach.

In a story first reported last Tuesday on thisweeknews.com, Martin, who helped Westerville North win a Division I state boys basketball title as a senior in 1994, was approved by the Board of Education to take over the Johnstown-Monroe High School boys program.

"Everything falls on my shoulders now (as coach), everything that happens on and off the court," said Martin, who was an assistant at Kenyon College last year after spending two seasons as an assistant at Westerville North. "We get into coaching to work with kids and in some ways to still have that competitiveness you had as a player. The ultimate goal is to have success, and as an assistant, you always want to be a head coach."

Martin played a season at Ohio State before transferring to North Carolina-Asheville. With the Bulldogs, he finished 11th on the program's all-time scoring list with 1,340 points, averaging 16.6 points in 82 games. He was a first-team all-Big South Conference player for two seasons and was named the conference Player of the Year in 1999.

After college, Martin played professionally in Finland and Honduras before serving as an assistant at Radford University in Virginia for three seasons as well as at UNC-Asheville.

"Kevin is a class act, and he has wealth of experience," athletics director Mike Carter said. "He has great enthusiasm and a positive attitude. I'm excited for the kids to have a chance to learn from this man."

Martin will replace Steve Johnston, who who was with the program for one season when the Johnnies finished 8-13 overall after losing to Elgin 72-60 in the first round of the Division III district tournament. They went 6-8 in the MBC to finish sixth behind Utica (13-1), Fredericktown (10-4), Northridge (10-4), Centerburg (7-7) and Loudonville (7-7) and ahead of East Knox (3-11) and Danville (0-14).

Johnston replaced Joe Bline, who likely had the winningest tenure in program history. In 2006-07, Johnstown finished 8-13, but was 76-17 overall during Bline's tenure. The Johnnies were 24-1 in 2004-05 and won their first MBC title since 1981. In 2005-06, they went 25-1 and lost in a Division III regional final to Archbold on a last-second 3-pointer.

"Basketball is basketball and it can change in a lot of different ways from coach to coach, but basketball is still basketball," said Martin, who lives in Westerville with his wife, Jennifer, his son, Devin, 2, and daughter, Isabella, 10 months. "For me and (for everyone in the program at Johnstown), the summer is really important. I'm getting to know the players and they're getting to know me. I plan on spending 10 days in summer to get to know me and to get better."

The Johnnies are expected to return their leading scorer and rebounder from last season, sophomore power forward Riley Cannon with an average of 11.3 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.

Also expected back are junior Jake Hollis (8.3 points per game), junior guard and forward Kurt Sammons and sophomore guards Cody Green and Michael Kessler (7.0 points).

"I'm still learning about the players, but from the people that I've talked to said that every class has kids who have talent and have kids who are willing to work hard to get better."

Martin's coaching philosophy also might be described as blue-collar.

"We going to get after it on the defensive end first and foremost and let our defense dictate what we do offensively," said Martin, who has a degree in sociology from UNC-Asheville. "When we can push the ball downcourt and can get an easy basket, we'll do it. But if it's not there, we need to be patient enough to run our half-court offense and take things from there."