In a sense, Seth Martin feels like he is coming home.
The former prep and collegiate standout was approved as coach of the Westland High School boys basketball team during the South-Western City Schools board of education meeting June 10.
Martin did not attend Westland, but in sixth grade the 1997 Zanesville graduate began playing AAU basketball in the area with players who went on to play for Westland. In addition, his wife, Katie, is a 1997 Westland graduate.
"This place has always had a special place in my heart," Martin said. "My eyes lit up when I saw this job opened. When (athletics director Greg Burke) called me (to offer the job), I was super excited. What helped my decision is the people I met during the interview process and just how at home everybody made me feel."
Martin, who turns 34 next month, replaces Todd Parker, who resigned April 16 after compiling a 90-128 record in 10 seasons at Westland. This past season, the Cougars finished 18-7 overall, went 9-5 in the OCC-Central Division to place third behind Olentangy Liberty (13-1) and Dublin Coffman (12-2) and reached a Division I district semifinal before losing to Liberty 61-43.
"There is a tie-in with Westland and Seth from a young age," Burke said. "(The tie-in) kind of made it a natural thing for him to come here. If there was any school, besides Zanesville, for him to go to, this would be the most natural because of the friendships he had on traveling teams with kids back in the early '90s."
Martin, who will serve as an intervention specialist at Westland, coached the Lakewood boys team the past two seasons, compiling a 12-33 record. The Lancers finished 6-17 last season after going 6-16 in 2011-12.
Martin was an assistant coach for the women's team at Muskingum University in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons. His coaching resume also includes stints as an assistant men's coach at Slippery Rock University and Shippensburg University and an assistant boys coach at Zanesville Maysville.
Led by Martin, Zanesville won the Division I state title in 1995 and was state runner-up in 1997. Martin was named special mention all-state as a sophomore, third-team all-state as a junior and first-team all-state as a senior. He was runner-up to Independence's Kenny Gregory for Mr. Basketball honors as a senior.
In 2012, Martin was honored for his high school career by being inducted into the District 12 Hall of Fame.
"A lot of people always think I have some special tie to Zanesville," Martin said. "Zanesville is a good school, but Westland to me has just a big pool of talent year in and year out to choose from. To me, (the OCC) is the best league in Ohio. (Westland is) Division I and a huge school. It's just a place (where) I think year in and year out we can always compete for the conference."
Martin began his collegiate career at Ohio University, where he played one season before transferring to California University, a Division II school in Pennsylvania. He played three seasons at California, twice earning second-team All-American honors.
"I've been around a lot of good coaches and still love the game of basketball and always look to learn more and more," Martin said. "I want to give the wealth to my players now."
Martin met with the Westland players June 11.
"We lost 10 seniors out of the 12 (players) on varsity," said guard Myles Fowler, who will be a senior in the fall. "That's losing a lot, so coming in his background really helps a lot. Hopefully, we can get it going."
Martin and his wife have three children: Cale, 10, Mia, 7, and Keynen, 4.