The Ohio Wesleyan men’s soccer team’s 5-1 win over Denison on Saturday was more than a crucial step toward a North Coast Athletic Conference championship. It marked the 600th career victory for Battling Bishop head coach Jay Martin.
Martin, in his 35th season at Ohio Wesleyan, becomes only the second college men’s soccer coach to reach the 600-win mark, according to records of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and the National Collegiate Athletics Association. The only other men’s college coach to reach the 600-win mark is Joe Bean, who compiled 607 wins at Quinnipiac, Bridgeport, and Wheaton (Ill.) from 1962-2006. He recorded his 600th win during his 45th and final season as a head coach.
Martin’s 600th win did not come without some tense moments, however. Denison outplayed the Bishops in taking a 1-0 halftime lead before Ohio Wesleyan erupted for 5 second-half scores.
“It’s a relief,” Martin said. “I knew I was going to get (600) this year, but there was some pressure building. I didn’t want it to become a distraction, but it did in the first half.
“Until recently, these milestones were meaningless, but 500 and 600, I’m pretty proud of—when you look at all of the people who have coached men’s soccer in college, that’s something to be proud of.”
Martin has had phenomenal success since taking over the Bishop helm in 1977. His overall record is 600-114-49, a winning percentage of .818. Ohio Wesleyan compiled the best winning percentage in the NCAA—regardless of division—during the 1980s, a lofty .815. The Battling Bishops topped that during the 1990s, fashioning a winning percentage of .825, and improved upon that during the 2000s, with a winning percentage of .827.
Between 30-40 former Battling Bishop players representing all of those eras—even all the way back to Martin’s first Ohio Wesleyan team in 1977—came to Granville in hopes of seeing the milestone, and they were not disappointed.
“They are great players, and great guys,” Martin said. “I appreciate the fact that they came back and that they were part of a great program. It’s kind of cool to know that you had a little impact on some of those lives.”