When Kirk Martin left Manvel for the collegiate coaching ranks six years ago, Kevin Hall took over the keys for the one of the state’s touted gridiron programs.

Hall, who announced his retirement last month, handed the keys back to Martin, Tuesday night.

The latter symbolic exchange came following the Alvin ISD Board voting 6-0 during their regular board meeting to approve Martin’s return to the program he built, starting with the school’s opening in 2006.

Addressing both the board and audience at the meeting, an emotional Martin thanked the school district for bringing him back home.

“I helped open up Manvel and I have so many great memories here,” Martin said. “Four kids here and I’m just ecstatic to get the opportunity to come back home. This is home. This is where my kids are from. It’s where I'm from. It’s just home.

“This is the very best district in the country in my opinion. I’m so excited to be able to come back here and finish what  I started. I love it and I just can’t wait to get rolling with those kids and get back in that hoka hey spirit.”

Martin compiled an impressive 108-25 mark during his initial stint (2006-2017) with the Mavs advancing to the state title game twice (2011 & 2017) and also making it to the regional finals on five occasions (2010, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016).

He then departed Manvel for Syracuse University in 2017, serving as an assistant coach for two years, before coming back to Texas and the high school football scene in 2020 to lead the Grapevine Colleyville Heritage program. He guided Heritage to an overall 28-7 record with playoff appearances in all three years, which included a regional finalist appearance in 2021.

“Had to go and try the college deal,” he added. “That’s the only reason I left. I’m grateful for the deal at Colleyville. We had a lot of success. We had a school record 12 wins there. Love every bit of my time there, but this is home. Our expectations won’t change. We’re shooting for the whole dang thing. That will be our goal from year one and obviously it will be one game at a time and you got to put in the work to do it.

“There’s so many friends and family here. I’m just ready to jump in with both feet.

The AISD landscape has changed more than a little with  a lot of rapid growth occurring since Martin’s time away. Shadow Creek was just in its second year when he left and the school district just added Iowa Colony as its fourth high school last fall. Sharks’ head coach Brad Butler and Pioneers’ head coach Ray Garza served as assistants under Martin at Manvel.

“It’s real neat to see Ray who worked with me at Manvel and Brad (Butler) who worked with me at Manvel,” Martin said. “They’re doing well and having so much success. I’m really happy for those guys. I just met (Alvin) Coach (James) Gage, but I worked with a guy for three years, who coached him in high school, so I feel like I already know him.”

Martin’s first back game back at Manvel will ironically come against Butler’s Sharks with the second annual Bill Lewis/HWY 288 Gridiron Classic opening the season for area squads at Freedom Field.

“I heard about last year,” Martin said. “They basically sold the thing out and I wouldn’t expect it to be any different. I helped design the stadium, but didn’t get to coach in it (until next fall). That will be really fun to be in that state of the art facility.

“It’s a special place.”

Martin started his coaching career in 1993 at Catheral High School and helped them to their first winning season in 12 years, while a three-year stay at 5A El Paso Riverside featured three district championships. He held the same position under Ron Lynch (1996-97) at Alvin High School and was later the assistant head coach under Mike Bass (1998-2000) here. Martin then served as the passing coordinator at Odessa Permian (2000-2003), the offensive coordinator at 3A Giddings (2003) and took his initial head coaching job at 2A Alpine (2004-2006) before coming to Manvel.

Under both Martin and Hall, the Mavs have advanced to the postseason an AISD record 13 straight seasons.

Kunefke approved as new assistant principal at AHS - Alvin High School is now in search of new head volleyball coach with Kylie Kunefke being approved as the new assistant principal at the school during Tuesday’s board meeting.

Kunefke guided the Lady Jackets to a 45-38 mark in two seasons at the helm with a pair of playoff appearances and their first postseason victory in seven years last fall.

Sandy Holdsclaw was also approved as the first ever principal at Nichols-Mock Elementary.

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