Martin Methodist College
Martin Methodist College is a private, coeducational, liberal arts college located in Pulaski, Tennessee, and affiliated with the United Methodist Church. For many years it was a junior college but now offers several four-year degrees.
The school has several intercollegiate sports programs and is a member of the NAIA. Other notable graduates include John Ogiltree, a Canadian baseball pitcher, and Tenywa Bonseu, a Ugandan soccer player. In 2012, James Justice, a 5'9" basketball guard with a 52" vertical leap, won the ESPN College Slam Dunk Contest and was later drafted by the Harlem Globetrotters.1
Martin Methodist College is named after Thomas Martin, who originally intended to construct a school for girls in Giles County. He financed the project through a gift of $ 30,000 in his will of 1870. His legacy was the fulfillment of the dream of his daughter Victoria, who before her death at age twenty asked her father to set up such an institution.2 Thomas Martin, son of a Methodist minister, was born in 1799 and moved to Pulaski Tennessee, as a young man. Unusual business acumen and knowledge of the industry soon made him a millionaire. He was a friend of President James K Polk from nearby Columbia, Tennessee.2 He served as president of the Nashville and Decatur Railroad, president of a local savings bank, an influential political figure in the region, and a loyal member of the Methodist Church in Pulaski. The college moved to its current location in 1875 on seven acres purchased from Governor John C. Brown for $16,000. For many years the college was operated as a four-year boarding college for women, with an elementary division for the children and young people of Pulaski. Many persons of influence are numbered among its illustrious graduates. Its first building stood near the site of Martin Hall. As the college grew, new facilities were added and the site of the campus expanded. In 1908, an agreement was reached whereby the Board of Trustees transferred the property of the college into the hands of the Tennessee Conference of The Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The name was changed from Martin Female College to Martin College, and financial support for the institution, as well as its influence, began to increase. In 1938, the College became coeducational. The number of male students has grown until the student body shows a ratio of approximately half women and half men. As the College grew, adjoining property was purchased and added to the campus. In 1983, the College constructed the Robert E. Curry Christian Life Center from the proceeds of a capital funds campaign. Martin Methodist College students, faculty, and staff, as well as persons from the community and the churches of the Tennessee Conference, use the center. In April, 1986, the Board of Trustees added the word “Methodist” to the college’s name. This addition affirms Martin’s strong ties to The United Methodist Church and clearly states the values of the Wesleyan tradition which undergird the college. Martin Methodist College became a four-year institution beginning with the 1993-94 academic year. The decision by the Board of Trustees to become a baccalaureate-degree granting institution was one of the most far-reaching decisions in the history of the school and was implemented to expand and enhance the school’s opportunities to achieve its objectives. In 1998, the College purchased 44 acres 1.5 miles east of the main campus. Facilities for all outdoor athletic events will eventually be built on this East Campus. In January 1999, the Board of Trustees of Martin Methodist College made the momentous decision to seek growth in the size of the student body to at least 1,000 students. This decision set into motion a 10-year plan, Martin 2010, which is necessary to accommodate the projected 2010 enrollment of 1,000-1,200 students. This plan includes the ability to offer expanded programs and services for students. In April 1999, the Center for Church Leadership was established by Martin Methodist College as part of its mission as a church-related institution of higher education. The center assists in the training and support of church leaders, both lay and professional, and has begun to provide an ambitious level of service to the churches of the region. The college purchased the stately antebellum home of former Governor John C. Brown in 1995. The property is located on the east side of the campus adjacent to the men’s dormitory. Damaged by age, fire, and winds, the home has been removed from the property. The College has reconstructed the historic home, now known as Herbert and Grace Grissom Colonial Hall, using as much of the original material from the old structure as possible. The building houses the administrative offices, reception and meeting rooms, and the Senator Ross Bass Archives.
Martin Methodist teams, nicknamed athletically as the RedHawks, are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division I level, primarily competing in the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC). Men's sports include: baseball, basketball, bowling, golf, soccer and tennis; while women's sports include: basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball. Competitive cheerleading is offered as a co-ed sport. Competitive trap and skeet shooting was added as the department's 15th varsity sport in the fall of 2013.
Some of the sport teams’ accomplishments include:
- Women's Soccer – Two-time NAIA National Champions (2005, 2007). Nine consecutive TranSouth Athletic Conference championships (2004-2012), nine consecutive NAIA National Tournament berths (2004-2012), 24 NAIA All-Americans and the 2005 and 2007 NAIA Player of the Year awards.345
- Men's Soccer – On Dec. 7, 2013, the RedHawks defeated Auburn University at Montgomery 2-1 in overtime to claim the program's first ever NAIA national championship. Despite entering the 32-team tournament as the lowest seeded squad, the RedHawks vanquished some of the NAIA's premier competition to claim the title. In their opening-round matchup, the RedHawks avenged an early season loss with a 2-0 victory over Bryan College. In the second round, the RedHawks thrashed No. 1 overall seed Grand View University 5-0, highlighted by a second half natural hat trick from eventual tournament Offensive Most Outstanding Player Sean Dong. In their quarterfinal matchup, the RedHawks knocked off defending national champion Belhaven University 2-1 in double overtime. The victory marked the third time in 2013 the RedHawks had beaten the defending national champion Blazers.. The RedHawks also defeated the Blazers 1-0 to claim the 2013 Southern States Athletic Conference Championship a month prior. In the national tournament semifinal, the RedHawks scored with just under four minutes left in regulation to force overtime against Ashford University before ultimately advancing in a penalty kick shootout. RedHawk goalkeeper Stephen Lunney, who was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Defensive Player, made a stop on the second Ashford penalty before taking and making the fifth and final penalty to send the RedHawks to the tournament final. In the title match, the RedHawks struck for an early goal against Auburn University at Montgomery, but allowed a second half goal from the Warhawks. In overtime, RedHawk midfielder Jonathan Remond took a pass from Kenneth Monge just outside the Warhawk box and finessed a left-footed shot into the back of the net to give the RedHawks the national title.
- "Men's Basketball: Harlem Globetrotters Select College Slam Dunk Champ For Tryout Opportunity". Retrieved 24 October 2013.
- College History, martinmethodist.edu. Retrieved 2013-03-30
- "NAIA Honors Database". Retrieved 24 October 2013.
- "2005 NAIA Top-Seeded Martin Methodist Captures First Women's Soccer National Championship". NAIA. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
- "Martin Methodist (Tenn.) Takes Home National Crown". NAIA. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
- "Martin Methodist College". The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Retrieved 2006-03-15.