MARTINSVILLE, Va. – You can't spell Martinsville without Martin. That statement couldn't be any truer for the Bulldogs, who will kick off the 2019 season with coach Bobby Martin at the helm. The former George Washington-Danville and most recently William Fleming coach is back home in the Piedmont District, ready to bring back the Bulldog to the football program.
"I'm thankful and excited. It's good to be home, it's good to be back on the field. We have some good guys working hard," Martin said.
The program has been struggling to find a sense of consistency recently due to a drop in numbers. But Martin has motivated a number of young men to play this season, which in turn has boosted their confidence.
"I saw how he was going to be a good coach and how he came up to me and asked me to play. It seemed like he really wanted me, and I never really had a coach to do that, so it meant a lot," said senior quarterback and running back Jeremiah Law.
"Picking each other up. We didn't do a great job of that last year. We kind of beat each other up on the bad times. So this year, we're trying to pick each other up when the times are bad," said wide receiver and safety Troy Brandon.
The Bulldogs have had just one winning season in the past 10 years, but Martin's goals go beyond the wins and losses; it's about building character in these young men before they step on the field.
"It's about these kids, about this community, and we want to win some games, but I want them to be winners. It's all about them being winners. I want them to earn their own respect, and I'll back them up on it," said Martin.
Martin also hired his son, BJ, to be on his staff to impart just how important it is to play as a family. This is all in an effort to make sure that Lugnut, the team's real-life English bulldog mascot, won't be the only Bulldog present Friday nights.
"The energy, play mentality, the hits -- everything is going to come back, and we're going to play like old Martinsville," said defensive end Jaden Carolina.