Kevin Martin, who helped lead the Westerville North High School boys basketball team to the Division I state title in 1994, is returning to the district to guide the Central boys program.

Martin was named the Warhawks’ new coach May 7. He replaces Donovon Barrett, who stepped down March 22 after five seasons to accept the same position at Olentangy Berlin.

Martin, 42, was a candidate when Barrett was hired.

“I’m extremely excited to get back to Westerville and especially at Central where I believe there’s so much potential for this basketball program,” Martin said. “There are not many jobs that would have pulled me away from Johnstown. This one was No. 1 on my list.”

Martin coached at Johnstown for 10 seasons, leading the Johnnies to a Division III district title in 2016 and district runner-up finishes in 2015 and 2018. Johnstown has won four consecutive Licking County League titles and went 153-81 under Martin.

“We’re going to play hard, the kids are going to play hard and they’re going to be tough,” Martin said. “We’re going to be hard to score on. Offensively, I give them some freedom, but at the same time, we’re going to work really hard with moving the basketball. When we walk off the floor, win or lose, our opponents are going to know we were out there for 32 minutes. That’s what I take pride in.”

A 1994 graduate of North, Martin played at Ohio State for one season before transferring to North Carolina-Asheville, where he averaged 16.6 points. He was a two-time first-team all-Big South Conference honoree and was named the conference’s Player of the Year in 1999.

Martin then played professionally in Finland and Honduras before serving as an assistant at Radford University in Virginia as well as at UNC-Asheville.

“I’ve known Kevin and I’ve watched his career. I’ve watched his teams play,” Central athletics director Andy Ey said. “We’ve played them a couple times when he was the head coach at Johnstown and I’ve seen him in some tournament games, so I’ve seen how good a job he does with his kids, how well they play together and how hard they play.”

Under Barrett, the Warhawks went 52-66 and won an OCC-Cardinal Division title in 2013-14.