Home Sweet Home
Martin & Cotton return as Galveston O'Connell jumps back to TAPPS
Sometimes you don’t know how great you have it until you leave.
That’s the case at Galveston O’Connell, which tested the TCAL waters for three seasons before announcing its TAPPS return for the upcoming school year. The move is a year in the making, after lifetime Buccaneers came home to lead the charge.
The first was Derek Martin, who returned to his alma mater as athletic director and head boys basketball coach last summer. It’s fitting that he’s back for the Bucs’ second run at TAPPS because he helped the basketball and track teams excel in their first three seasons in the league between 1988 and 1991.
“It’s been exciting to be back home, and I’m grateful for the opportunity,” said Martin. “When I was a student-athlete here, I learned so many things that prepared me for the real world. We had coaches and teachers that always went the extra mile for us, and that cared enough about our future success to invest their time into us. And that hasn’t changed at all to this day.”
One of his mentors was Tim Cotton, who coached him in both sports, and has decades-long experience with high school football. He was retired for six years when the O’Connell football job opened in 2017, but couldn’t turn it down.
“The commitment that the TAPPS league made to private schools was something that intrigued me,” said Cotton. “And then to have the opportunity to come back and re-establish those values at O’Connell was something I couldn’t pass up.”
Both have lengthy ties to TAPPS, so they know how to prepare their programs for success.
Martin spent the majority of the past 20 years with TAPPS programs O’Connell and Baytown Christian, serving in roles like JV boys basketball coach, varsity boys and girls basketball coach, and athletic director.
Cotton has been coaching even longer, with stops at O’Connell, Marian Christian and Westbury Christian.
Both want to build on past athletic achievements, so football’s a great time to start.
The program is two years removed from a playoff win, and its strong junior class will put it in contention for another one in 2018. It includes versatile and all-state Izeal Owens, running back/linebacker Josh Hickman and strong-armed quarterback Tanner Adkins.
“With [Hickman] and Owens, we’re going to have two young leaders, [so] I think we’ll make the playoffs this year,” said Cotton. “And once you get into the playoffs, anything can happen.”
This article appears in the May issue of VYPE Magazine. Pick up your copy at any one of our locations today!