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CHS hoops coach steps down
Jason Martin's tenure as head coach of Ceres High's varsity boys basketball program ended on March 19.

Martin, 36, resigned to spend more time with his family.

"It has nothing to do with how the season ended," said Jason, who is married with three daughters, ages five through 18. "It's something my wife and I have discussed for a couple of years. It's time to step aside."

Martin took over as coach for the Bulldogs after serving as an assistant in 1999 under current athletic director Glenn Driskell.

Jason went 133-119 in nine seasons at Ceres High. He led the Bulldogs to four playoff appearances.

"I enjoyed it," Martin said. "I felt we built a pretty good program. I know I'm going to miss it."

Jason had more than his fair share of memorable moments with the Bulldogs.

He enjoyed his most successful season in 2001 when Ceres High finished 23-9 and advanced past the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I Playoffs with a 67-54 win over Stagg. Willie Smiley, Cordy Garcia and Chris Sequeira paced the Bulldogs.

"The second year was probably our best team," Martin said. "We hosted a playoff game and won. Then we had to go to Modesto Christian. They had four Division I scholarship players in Chuck Hayes, Richard Midgley, David Paris and Marc Pratt. We lost by 21 points. That was their closest game in the section playoffs."

The Bulldogs just missed out on the playoffs in 2000 despite compiling an 18-10 overall record. The highlight of the season came at the Hanford tournament, where Ceres High placed second. The Bulldogs lost 97-44 to nationally-ranked Artesia in the finals.

"That was a fun game," said Martin, who relied on the stellar play of Smiley, Garcia and Jared Ines during his first year at the helm. "We made it exciting for a while but they had some serious talent."

All-league selections Brett Sayad, Kevin Dupree, Ross Tate and Ray Green propelled Ceres High to a 21-7 record, third-place tie in the Valley Oak League and Division II playoff berth in 2007.

"It was a fun year to coach," Martin said.

Jason will continue to teach algebra at Ceres High. There's a chance he might coach again, but it would be at the lower level.

"Wherever I'm needed," he said. "I'll definitely be involved in Ceres High sports in one way or another."

As for the future of Ceres High's varsity boys basketball program, Martin said: "We have a lot coming back next year. I think they should have a good season."

A 1989 graduate of Hilmar High, Jason coached varsity boys basketball at his alma mater for two seasons prior to joining Ceres High's staff.