Donna Martin enters her 13th season at the helm of the Northern Illinois University softball program. A product of the Huskie family, Martin's association with the university spans four decades. Since taking over the program in 1995, Martin has amassed an overall record of 328-306-2 in 12 seasons, including two Mid-American Conference titles and two MAC Coach of the Year honors.
Martin got off to a fast start in her first head coaching position, posting six straight 30-win seasons. In her first season, NIU finished with a 32-26 record. The next year, she led the Huskies to a 35-17 overall record and a 13-1 mark in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference, winning the conference championship and advancing to the 1996 NCAA Regionals. In her third season, Martin won her 100th collegiate victory, the fastest coach to accomplish that feat in Huskie softball history.
During its three-year run in the MCC under Martin, seven Huskies earned First-Team All-MCC honors. In 1996 Martin earned Coach of the Year accolades, Kerri Kerber was named the league's Player of the Year, Angie Zuspann picked up Pitcher of the Year recognition and Julie Stopka was named MCC Newcomer of the Year.
In 1998, Martin led the Huskies into their first season of MAC competition with a 33-16 overall record and a 21-6-1 record in conference play to take second place in the MAC. The Huskies won back-to-back MAC Championships in 1999 and 2000 with Martin winning MAC Coach of the Year awards after those campaigns.
Since re-joining the MAC in 1998, 13 Huskies have earned First Team All-MAC honors, Christy Dalton was named MAC Player of the Year in 1999, Courtney Witvliet was named MAC Pitcher of the Year in 2000 and Kathy Dearborn was named MAC Freshman of the Year in 2002.
Before taking over the program, Martin served as an assistant coach at NIU under Dee Abrahamson for 13 seasons. She was on Abrahamson's staff for the Huskies' lone College World Series appearance in 1988, when NIU finished seventh in the nation.
Prior to starting her coaching career, Martin was a four-year letterwinner for the Huskies in both field hockey and softball. She began her career in the outfield as the only freshman on a senior-dominated squad. She later moved to her natural position of second base for her final three seasons. Martin led the 1979 Huskies in runs batted in and had a team-best .295 batting average in 1981. She is tied for first in the Huskies' record book for stolen bases in a game with three against Navy and in triples in a game with two against Concordia (Ill.).
As a defensive specialist for the field hockey team, the Lake Bluff native was selected by the NFHCA to represent it at the national field hockey tournament in 1979. Martin helped contribute to a school-record 47-match unbeaten streak, which spanned four seasons, and played for the Huskies' undefeated field hockey team in 1978. That team was inducted into the Northern Illinois University Athletics Hall of Fame in 1992.
Martin earned her undergraduate degree in physical education from Northern Illinois in 1981, and then completed her master's degree in physical education from NIU in 1986.