There may be a change in the softball coaching position at Christ Presbyterian Academy very soon. If it happens it will be temporary.
Head coach Jennifer Martin is eight months along in her pregnancy, with a due date of June 5. But if she has to deliver earlier, then her husband, Ingle Martin, the school’s head football coach, is ready to take over.
Going on maternity leave isn’t in the books for Jennifer. In fact, she says she’s ready to hold on until the last minute.
“I’m planning on coaching until the baby pops out,” she said, laughing. “But Ingle will be there to take over if the baby arrives sooner (than June 5).
“We’ve already made the preparation steps necessary. He’s already out there hitting ground balls and fly balls, which very soon I won’t be able to do. He’ll be there at all the games, and give all the support I need.”
So far during home games, Jennifer only has to negotiate a 10-foot walk from the dugout to the third base coaching box, not too taxing.
The couple has one son, Wright, who is two. And they already know their second-born also will be a boy. They plan to name him Williams.
The Martins have likely the most noteworthy athletic marriage in Nashville.
Ingle was an all-state quarterback at MBA. He led the Big Red to three straight state championships and won the Mr. Football award twice (1999, 2000). He played in college at Furman after transferring from Florida and played briefly in the NFL.
Jennifer Martin is the former Jennifer Wright, who was an all-state softball pitcher at Ezell-Harding. Starting in the eighth grade, she pitched the Eagles to an incredible five straight state championships (1997-2001) and compiled a career record of 107-9. She was a star four-year letterman at Alabama.
She is the daughter of former star Father Ryan and Vanderbilt quarterback Mike Wright, an outstanding two-sport player and who played in the Detroit Tigers organization. She also is the school’s SID.
Ingle Martin says he has never coached softball or baseball before, certainly not on the high school level.
With the tournaments opening early next month, Jennifer may have a smooth path early on, but if the Lions are successful, contingency plans are in the works.
“I’ll be ready,” Martin, who guided his first CPA football team to the Class AA state playoff semifinals last fall, said. “I don’t have much background in softball, certainly not as much as Jennifer does, but I’ve picked up some things as I’ve gone along in practice. We have an excellent assistant in Julie Curtis who will help out as well. I just hope I can blend in and do well.
“It’s interesting to step up in front of a group of girls. I just hope they all play hard, which I’m sure they’ll do, and hopefully we’ll be OK.”
A similar situation occurred for Stacy Swinea. The Davidson Academy softball coach was eight months pregnant, yet guided her team in the state tournament, which the Bears won in 2008.
In the finals, Swinea walked back and forth from the third base coaching box very gingerly and slowly each inning. Needless to say, she did not participate in post game celebrations. She gave birth a few days later.
Jennifer Martin would relish that sort of end to this season.