Hall of Famer Jim Martinez resigns as CDS wrestling coach

Jim Martinez’s decision to resign as the head coach of the Corona del Sol wrestling program wasn’t an easy one for him to make. But after 10 years and two state titles, it was a decision the wrestling Hall of Famer knew had to be made. (Tempe Union High School District photo)

Jim Martinez’s decision to resign as the head coach of the Corona del Sol High School wrestling program wasn’t easy, but it was one he felt had to be done.

“Being a wrestling coach is pretty demanding,” Martinez said. “I had thought about how much longer I wanted to do this and if I had the ability to continue. With all of the volunteer time it took and working as a substitute teacher, I was hesitant to give a firm commitment.”

Martinez discussed his future with Corona del Sol administrators in early April. It was then that he decided it was time to step away.

“The Corona program is the first and only wrestling program where I was the head coach,” Martinez said. “Everything I did was so that we all could become better wrestlers and positive influences in our school and community,” said Martinez.

“I have loved the wrestlers and families for allowing me to be a part of their lives.”

Martinez spent the last 10 years at the helm of the Corona wrestling program, winning two state titles during his tenure. His first championship came during his inaugural season in 2009-10. His second title came during the 2016-17 season.

Corona quickly became one of the premier programs in the state under Martinez, consistently finishing in the top-10 rankings each year.

“We appreciate the hard work and dedication of Coach Martinez over the last 10 years,” said Cory Nenaber, Corona del Sol’s athletic director. “He’s an exceptional wrestling coach and we wish him the best.”

A native of Osseo, Minn., Martinez was a state-champion wrestler in high school before he went on to become a Big 10 Champion and two-time All-American for the University of Minnesota.

His success in college earned him a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team during the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. He won a bronze medal in lightweight Greco-Roman wrestling after defeating Romanian Stefan Negrisan.

On Oct. 18, 2014, Martinez was inducted into the Alan and Gloria Rice Greco-Roman Hall of Champions, part of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

The search for a new coach is already underway at Corona del Sol. Nenaber has begun screening applicants and is hopeful to begin interviews and make a hire before the end of the school year.

Martinez hasn’t ruled out a return to coaching, but it would have to be under the right circumstance. For now, he remains thankful for the positive influence all of his former wrestlers had on him during his coaching career.

“They made me remember what the sport did for me,” Martinez said. “I want them to remember that as much as winning matches and tournaments were great accomplishments, it is the journey of failures and successes that will be the important memories to take away.”

“You are champions by what you do every day, not by the singular win or championship you achieve. Show up, give your best and never stop trying.”

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