Jody Martinez

Back to the Hall of Fame


Jody came to Bethel as a freshman in 1986 from a strong Mishawaka Marian High School program under the direction of Coach Mike Lightfoot. Jody sparked his Misawaka Marian team in his senior season which catch the attention of Bethel's Head Coach Homer Drew. Jody walked onto campus staning 6'6" tall and weighing in at 165lbs. Who would have thought this skinny kid from a few blocks away would leave Bethel being dubbed "the definition of Bethel Basketball" Homer Drew left Bethel after Jody's freshman season which gave way to Jody's High School coach, Mike Lightfoot, to take over at the helm for the Pilots. Through the next 3 years Jody become a force wearing the #44 Pilots unifrom. During his senior year, Jody helped the Pilots to their first MCC regular season championship finishing the season 30-7. Over his 4 years, the Pilots record reached 110 wins to only 36 loses making the class of 1990 the most successful class of Pilots up to that point in the programs history.  As the team success swelled so did the individual awards and records for the dominating center. Upon completion of this athletic career at Bethel, Jody's name was all over the Pilots record book.


Jody's Pilot Profile

  • 1st in rebounds – 1,728
  • 1st in points – 2,620
  • 1st in field goal % - 59,8%
  • 1st in blocks - 197
  • 1st in games played - 145
  • 4th in free throw % - 81.0%
  • 6th in assists – 462
  • 3 time NAIA All-District honorable mention
  • 3 time NAIA All-American
  • 2 time NAIA Academic All-American
  • 3 time Bethel Classic All-Tournament Team
  • 3 time All Mid-Central Conference
  • 3 time NCCAA All-American
  • 4 additional single season records


In 1991, one year after his graduation, the Bethel Men's Basketball program retired the #44 Jersey. To this day it hangs in Championship Lobby of the Wiekamp Center. Jody's path has not strayed far from Bethel or basketball. After short stint of playing professionally in Mexico, Jody and his wife Sonya made Mishawaka their home. Jody came back to do some more school at Bethel while joining the coaching staff for the men's basketball team. During his time as an assistant, the Pilots won 2 NCCAA National Championship ('92 and '93). Jody then took a teaching and coaching job at South Bend St Joe High School where he coached basketball, football, and track & field. In 1998 Jody once again was on the sidelines for Bethel but this time in was in a head coaching role for the Lady Pilot Women's Basketball team. In his 14 years leading the way for the Lady Pilots the team has won 6 NCCAA National Championship, made 6 trips to the NAIA National Tournament (5 elite-8 appearances, 1 to the field of 32) and has won the MCC regular season 3 times as well as 1 MCC tournament championship in 2008. With all the accomplishments that have come to the Women's program the one that speaks to the amazing consistency and development of players is that in each of the 14 seasons that Jody has coached the team has won 20+ games. What makes this fact even more amazing is that before Jody took over in 1998 the program had never experienced even a winning season.

Jody is not alone in his coaching endeavors. Sonya, his wife, has been an assistant coach in the program as many years and Jody has been the head coach. Together they have made and impact on countless lives and have built up young women to beyond the game of basketball. Along with the X's and O's of the game the Martinez duo continually run Bible studies, retreats, and mission trips for their athletes. Jody has been a part of 2 task force mission trips as a player (Mexico and the Dominican Republic) and has led trips to Alaska, Hawaii, West Virginia, Mississippi and the Dominican Republic.

Jody and Sonya live in Mishawaka with their two daughters, Hannah and Josalyn. The family attends Grace Church in Granger where Jody is an elder.