George Washington University Director of Athletics Patrick Nero recently announced that Billy Martin ’06, who had successfully guided the University of Pennsylvania sailing program for the past two-plus seasons, was named the head sailing coach at GW.
“The George Washington University Sailing Team has seen massive expansion, growth, and success the past few years,” said Martin. “I’m extremely excited to join the university and student-athletes in continuing this growth, and look forward to contributing to this successful program.”
“Billy comes from an outstanding academic school so his understanding of the ideals of the student-athlete experience make him a strong fit at GW,” said Nero. “Not only will he be able to mentor our student-athletes in their life pursuits beyond GW, but he’s demonstrated an excellent ability to get the most out of a team in competition. He’s a decorated sailor in his own right and comes with excellent teaching acumen.”
In just his second season at Penn, Martin guided the Quakers to the 2016 Intercollegiate Sailing Association coed national finals, where they recorded the best finish in school history with a 16th-place showing, which was one spot ahead of GW. Penn was one of just two teams competing as a club program to reach the finals, along with Martin’s alma mater, Boston University.
“Billy is held in remarkably high regard in the collegiate sailing community and his well-earned reputation precedes him to GW,” said Brian Sereno, sport administrator for GW sailing. “The student-athletes who will be under his tutelage stand to gain greatly, not only as sailors, but as people. We are very fortunate and excited to have him aboard.”
Penn achieved national rankings in both 2014-15 and 2015-16, and opened this season ranked 18th. In addition to reaching the coed national finals last season, they also reached the women’s national semifinals, and in 2015 advanced to the coed national semifinals where they finished 11th, just two places shy of a spot in the finals.
Along with his work at Penn, Martin has been a private race coach and sailing instructor for the last 10 years, helping high school and junior sailors reach the collegiate level.
Martin was a member of the nationally ranked Boston University sailing team from 2006-10, where he competed in multiple national championships as a starting skipper in both singlehanded and doublehanded boats. He was awarded the 2010 New England Collegiate Sailing Sportsmanship Award, one of college sailing’s highest honors.
A 2010 graduate of BU with a Business Administration degree, Martin continues to sail competitively and was the third-place skipper in the 2015 Lightning World Championship. This year, he earned the US Sailing Grit Award for his coaching efforts with Penn.
At Moorestown Friends School, Martin was a three sport varsity athlete (soccer, basketball, baseball) and was the President of the Sports Club, while pursuing competitive sailing outside of school as a nationally ranked racer.