Girls Basketball: Rex Martin picked for coaching post at Hillcrest
By Tony Baranek email@example.com August 13, 2014 9:40PM
Updated: September 15, 2014 5:33PM
During his job interview for the girls basketball coaching position at Hillcrest, former Richards boys assistant Rex Martin struck a positive — and humorous — chord with Hillcrest athletic director Lisa Wunar.
“When we asked him what his responsibilities were at Richards, he said he was in charge of scouting and game preparation,” Wunar said. “He said he created the scouting report for the Hillcrest boys game (last season).
“I started laughing and said, ‘Well, that was a pretty darned good scouting report. You hooked us by 20.’”
Martin, whose resume also includes a stint as the freshman basketball coach at Mount Carmel, was hired as the girls coach of the Hawks, as well as a social studies teacher at the Country Club Hills school.
“It’s going to be different, but I’m really excited about it and it’s a great opportunity,” Martin said. “Hopefully, we can continue the fine tradition they had there.”
Martin replaces John Maniatis, who was removed May 1 by District 288 as the coach and as a teacher in the wake of a DUI charge.
Martin’s role as an assistant to John Chappetto at Richards was a multidimensional one.
“He was the assistant sophomore coach and he sat on the varsity bench the whole year,” Chappetto said. “He did an awesome job scouting for us, and he also helped with game management.
“He’s a quality person. This is a guy who is a real gentleman. He’s definitely committed to becoming a great coach. He steps into a tough job, but I think once the players get to know him they’ll love him.”
Martin replaces an Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame coach in Maniatis, who over a 20-year career at Hillcrest posted a 487-100 record, including 15 regional, seven sectional and three supersectional titles. The Hawks advanced to state three consecutive times (2010 through ’12), finishing second in Class 3A twice and third once.
“The program has been very successful,” Martin said. “They had a coach there who was very respected. I’m not going to try to replace him. I’m my own person, and we’re going to try to keep up the fine record they had there.
“There will be some things I do that are different. I already have talked to some of the girls about it. That’s just life. Everything changes sometime. I’ve been through a couple of changes the last couple of years. I’m going in there and everybody has clean slate with me. Hopefully, I will have a clean slate as well.”
Martin was chosen from a large pool of candidates, according to Wunar.
“We interviewed quite a few,” she said. “Everyone we interviewed had coaching experience on their resume. He had confidence and a quiet demeanor. He seems very thorough and patient and he definitely seems to put in a lot of legwork, which we were looking for because we knew how much time John put in to everything.
“There is only one John (Maniatis). He built this program here over 20 years and had a ton of success. The expectations are for (Martin) to continue what was built and also impart some of his methods that he wants to put in.”