Article, Spring 2011 - Ohlone College Renegades Women's Water Polo

Local swim coach remembered

By Sanjna Shukla.

April 15, 2011—Reprinted from Tri-City Voice Sports.

On Monday, April 11, the Bay Area lost respected and loved water polo and swim coach, Joseph Martinez. Martinez was dedicated to coaching both water polo and swimming, and his passing has affected many involved in Fremont aquatic programs. Both athletes and parents are devastated by the unexpected loss of such a motivational and inspirational human being.

About Martinez, Ohlone Renegades’ water polo player Tatiana McCuaig reminisced about the coach, “When I started out playing for Coach Joe in fourth grade, we would lose games 22-1. Without Joe, there is no way we would be where we are now.” Martinez coached both women’s and men’s water polo at Ohlone, and was involved in various aquatic programs around Fremont for the past 10 years.

Grant Huang, a member on the Ohlone Renegades’ men’s’ water polo team, reminisced about his time with the coach. “Joe was one of those coaches who dedicated his whole life into polo and swimming. He would have wanted us to remember him as an inspiration for us to work harder than we have before. He put his heart into us improving not only in the pool, but also as people. ”

Martinez was also loved among the athlete’s parents for his love and passion for the sport. Teri Westerhoff, a parent of two water polo athletes, said of the coach, “Joe wasn’t a rich man, but he was a rich man. Just look at all the relationships he cultivated. He was rich, and how he’s drawing us all together. He’s made the swimming and water polo community one big family.”

Coach Joe was known for his close and personal relationships with each and every one of his athletes. Regardless of how many teams he coached, Joe took it upon himself to ensure that every individual got the attention and coaching that would make them the best athlete that they could be. Mary Tanakit, a mother of two who were coached by Joe, said, “I guess every good coach knows their players strengths, but Joe could articulate to a player just how that strength contributed to the team in an important way. As strict as Joe could be, he was also playful, and this endeared him to his athletes.”

Martinez was also heavily involved in the Mission San Jose High School (MSJHS) aquatics program. He coached girls’ water polo, as well as boy’s and girl’s swimming. The Athletics Director at MSJHS, Thomas Thomsen, was a close colleague and friend to Martinez. “He spent countless hours of his day dedicating himself to his athletes. His mentorship was invaluable to so many young adults. The many lives he touched will always remember Joe for his never ending love and friendship.”

Coach Martinez was a loved and respected coach, and he will truly be missed. On Saturday, April 16th, Mission San Jose High School will host a memorial celebration for what would have been Joseph Martinez’s 29th birthday in the MSJHS gym from 7-9 pm.

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