First, Stanford lost the Sun Bowl to Oklahoma. Now, it appears the Cardinal has lost its new defensive backs coach to the Sooners, too. Former Georgia defensive coordinator Willie Martinez will fill the vacant assistant coaching job at OU, a Stanford source told Rivals.com national college football writer Tom Dienhart on Monday.
Martinez, 46, who was fired by Bulldogs coach Mark Richt in December, reportedly accepted a job at Stanford over the weekend, but "had a change of heart” and decided to join Bob Stoops’ staff. OU has yet to make an official announcement and could wait until signing day to do so. But if the report turns out to be true, Martinez will replace ex-Sooner defensive ends coach Chris Wilson, who left last month to become the co-defensive coordinator/defensive line coach at Mississippi State. While it remains unclear what role Martinez will play on the Sooner staff, the most likely scenario is that he will become OU’s defensive backs coach, and Bobby Jack Wright — who coached defensive ends under Stoops from 1999-2004 before moving to the secondary in 2005 — will slide back to manning defensive ends. Martinez, who grew up in Coral Gables, played his college ball at the University of Miami and was a defensive back on the 1983 national championship Hurricane team that upset Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. He coached high school for several years before getting into college coaching at Grand Valley State in 1992. Martinez also had stints at Central Michigan (1994, 1998-99), Central Florida (1995-96, 2000) and Eastern Michigan (1997) before joining Richt’s first staff at Georgia in 2001. After coaching the secondary for four seasons, Martinez was promoted to defensive coordinator when Brian VanGorder left to coach in the NFL. In the beginning, Martinez’s defenses were tough.