Two of the most memorable moments in the lives of Lewisville head boys basketball coach Toby Martin and The Colony head coach Cleve Ryan have occurred on consecutive days.
On June 30, 2018, Ryan officiated the wedding of Toby and Jenny Martin in Lampasas.
“Him and his wife called me on phone and asked if I would be in the wedding,” Ryan said. “In my head, I was thinking, 'He's going to have me be the best man or an usher.' His wife said, 'We want you to officiate the wedding. I was like, 'Whoa, I've never done that before,' and paused. I was like, 'Alright, let's do it.'"
Martin had one rule for Ryan.
“The only thing we had to do is put a word limit on there because he can go out there and put on a 30-minute comedy speech,” Martin joked.
One day later on July 1, while still in Lampasas, Cleve and Stephanie Ryan celebrated their 23rd wedding anniversary – they also got married in Lampasas, but in 1995.
Fast-forward to last weekend. Martin and Ryan celebrated two more milestones in their lives on back-to-back nights, but this time, it was on the basketball court. Ryan earned his 400th coaching victory, while Martin earned his 200th win.
Martin came into this season stuck on 199 career wins – 181 of those career victories came in 10 successful seasons at Irving MacArthur, where he followed in the footsteps of former Cardinals head coach Stephen Hamrick, before finishing 18-17 in his first season at Lewisville last season.
“He coached those guys so well,” Martin said of Hamrick. “We changed our style of play when I got there, but they adjusted well because they knew how to play well.”
Martin didn’t know that he was stuck on 199 career wins until he had to submit his team’s record at the end of last season. He thought that he was going to reach 200 wins the previous season, but COVID-19 limited the number of games that every high school team in Texas could play.
Martin needed just one game this season to earn career win No. 200.
Lewisville used a 32-2 third-quarter run to pull away for a 79-52 victory against Dallas Lincoln. The second-year Farmer bench boss said that seniors Adrian Banks, Tre’Lin Green and junior Rakai Crawford led Lewisville’s efforts on offense, while senior Jameer Lewis set the tone defensively.
“We kind of exploded in the third quarter,” Martin said. “Tre’Lin Green, Rakai Crawford and Adrian Banks helped to lead us offensively. But we couldn’t do it without the defensive stops. Jameer Lewis is a defensive player of the year candidate. He can guard the one through the five. I feel like this is one of the better defensive teams around here.”
Following the game, Martin was presented with a cake, balloons and a plaque in honor of his 200th career victory.
Current and former players, as well as school administrators, were present to congratulate him.
Green wrote a quote on the plaque.
“I’m not one to handing out a lot of compliments to my players,” Martin said. “But when I did, one thing I would say is, ‘You might be somebody one day, kid.’ Tre’Lin Green wrote, ‘Keep it up and you’ll be something one day, coach.’”
Like Martin, Ryan came into this season one win away from earning a milestone win of his own. Last season, The Colony upset state-ranked Lovejoy for Ryan’s 399th career victory, which was a win that clinched a playoff berth for the Cougars.
Ryan remained at 399 coaching victories after The Colony lost to Frisco Memorial in a bi-district playoff game. But he used that loss as motivation – for himself, as well as for his team.
“I have a motto that it is 399 and to make every day a 399 day,” he said. “It is very special because you don’t know when the next time one of those opportunities is going to come.”
And just like Lewisville, The Colony’s 70-48 victory against Little Elm, held at Lewisville, to give Ryan his 400th victory didn’t come easy.
The Lobos started the game on a 9-0 run, but the Cougars quickly chipped into that lead before assuming control in the second half. Senior Jaidyn Cotto poured in 25 points, five assists, seven rebounds and five steals.
"Being the first game of the season and the first time for some of these guys to play high-school varsity basketball, they just had to get out there and play a varsity game,” Ryan said. “In basketball, they all know it's a long game. Whether it was nerves or whether Little Elm came out hot, I preached to our guys, 'Relax and start playing.'"
In one of the hallways adjacent to the basketball court in the caverns of Farmer Activity Center, Ryan led a cheer of “Hey” as they jumped around in the team huddle.
Ryan also spotted Martin postgame with the two sharing an embrace. Also present that day was Frisco Wakeland head boys basketball coach Tyron Lee, whose Wolverines were in action that day against Colleyville Heritage.
Lee and Martin were assistant coaches on Ryan’s staff at The Colony for three and four seasons, respectively, before going on to take coaching jobs elsewhere. Martin was a basketball coach at Lakeview Middle School in The Colony for four seasons before being promoted to an assistant on Ryan’s staff when Ryan was elevated to Cougars head coach. Ryan had previously coached for Arbor Creek Middle School in Carrollton.
"He was the perfect fit at the perfect time,” Ryan said of Martin. “It's a great mix with the players that we had."
Martin and Ryan chatted on the same day that Martin earned his milestone victory.
“I had another coach ask me how it feels,” Martin said. “I said it was a longevity award.”