Martin named head of Bengal football

BLYTHEWOOD – James Martin was officially named the next Blythewood High School head football coach on Tuesday night during the Richland Two School Board meeting.

Martin currently teaches social studies at Blythewood High School and served as Defensive Coordinator for the Bengals in the 2022 season.

“We are excited to be able to keep Coach Martin in the Bengal Family,” Blythewood principal Matt Sherman said. “The passion and experience he brought to the program last season played a role in the success the team was able to accomplish.”

In the 2022 season, with Martin as Defensive Coordinator, the Bengals won their first region title since 2013. They went undefeated (5-0) in region play and gave up only 27 points in those five games. They also set a school record for sacks in a season, allowing only 12.75 points per game.

Most recently, Martin served as Defensive Coordinator for Blythewood in 2022, helping lead the team to their first region championship since 2013.  The Bengals improved in nearly every defensive metric, giving up only 27 points total while going undefeated in region play (5-0).  The 2022 Bengal defense gave up an average of 12.75 points in their 11-game season and set a school record for sacks in a season. The Bengals also had three shutouts, including their first-round playoff game against Boiling Springs.

“We hold high expectations for our Bengal Football Program – on and off of the field,” Sherman said. “We are confident Coach Martin’s vision for our student-athletes will help propel the program to new heights.” 

Martin formerly served as head coach of Northwestern High School in Rock Hill. He took over as an interim head coach at Northwestern in October 2017 and got the job following the 2017 season. Martin went 9-9 as head coach for the Trojans. He served as Northwestern’s defensive coordinator beginning in 2012 and was part of two Trojan state championship teams in 2013 and 2015.

Martin’s first head coaching job was at South Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte from 2006-2011. He led the Sabres to a 2008 Class 4A semifinal appearance.

Martin has an undergraduate degree in Education from University of South Carolina at Aiken and began his coaching career at South Aiken High School.  He had coaching stops at Clover, South Mecklenburg, Northwestern, and Catawba Ridge before landing at Blythewood. 

Martin and his wife Merri Martin, a physical education teacher, have been married 27 years and have four sons, Cameron, Caleb, Mason, and Brandon.  Brandon, their youngest son, is a sophomore at Blythewood.

Martin replaces Jason Seidel, who led the Bengal program for five seasons before he privately resigned on March 1. No reasons were given for Seidel’s departure and Seidel told a reporter from The Voice that he was not allowed to comment on the matter.

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