A friend of a friend-D.G Martin-Joe Oxendine-February 21

One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about “friends of my friends”. The post below is the story for February 21, 2015.

My goal in 2015 is to learn or get re-acquainted with 365 people and doing a daily post on the “the friend of a friend” is helping me get closer to my goal.

At UNC Pembroke we are getting ready for a Chancellor Transition that is scheduled to take place in July 2015. I am quite confident that our search committee will find an excellent leader. For me this will be sixth search for a chancellor since I have been associated with the university. The first occurred in 1979 when Chancellor English E. Jones retired. Pembroke went thru additional searches in 1989, 1999, 2009, 2010, and now 2015 during my association with the university.

During the 1989 search the university selected Joseph B. Oxendine as chancellor. At that time I was serving as men’s basketball coach at UNCP. I remained at Pembroke for three years after Chancellor Oxendine arrived and we became friends. In fact in 1992 when I left for Winthrop University to be Head Basketball Coach he strongly asked me to reconsider and stay. I had coaching wanderlust and wanted to experience what NCAA Division I coaching was like. In 1998 after 6 seasons at Winthrop I found myself out of a job for not winning enough games.

The two first calls I got while I was unemployed were Dr. Ray Pennington and Chancellor Joe Oxendine. They both inquired if I had any interest in returning to UNCP to become the Athletic Director. Ray was currently the AD and indicated he like to return to the faculty in the UNC Phased Retirement program and Chancellor Oxendine wanted me to apply. He didn’t promise anything but he told me he wanted me to consider it. It took me a couple of months to sort out if I wanted to be an AD or remain a coach. In April and May 1998 I flirted with a possible part-time assistant coaching job with the Charlotte Sting (WNBA) and the Head Coaching Job at Winona State. Neither of those positions materialized so I decided to become an applicant at UNCP.

Well in August 1998 I started my third career at UNC Pembroke reporting directly to Chancellor Joe Oxendine serving as the university’s Director of Athletics. I have always been indebted to the loyalty that Dr. Oxendine has shown our family and to me specifically. I realize that I would not be where I am at today professionally if he didn’t take a leap of faith and trust that a novice like Dan Kenney could lead an athletic department.

Dr. Oxendine grew up in Pembroke NC and graduated from Catawba College in 1952. He played baseball and football for the school; after graduating, he played baseball for a year in the minor leagues for the Pittsburg Pirates. He earned a master’s and eventually a doctorate of education degrees from Boston University.

Dr. Oxendine served as chancellor of UNC Pembroke from 1989 to 1999. In March 2011, after he had been retired for almost 12 years from UNCP, Catawba College’s trustees asked him to serve as interim president for about a year.

Joe Oxendine was also an amazing man of physical fitness. He was well into his 60’s and 70’s performing fitness feats that most college students could not complete. Whether it was running, cycling, golfing, or kayaking he was an active man. I also have to say that on the golf course he had the uncanny ability to hit a tree and still make par. He coined those scores “barkies” and when you played golf with him those were side bets you were going to lose.

I hadn’t completed two months on the job when I was summoned to the Chancellor Oxendine’s Office to meet with him. I was fretting during my walk to his office that I had somehow already screwed up just two months in a new position. I got to his office and I was informed that Chancellor Oxendine was going to retire in 1999. He challenged me to keep working on a comprehensive plan to elevate the athletic department and told me he was going to hire on an interim basis someone to assist UNCP and me with its advancement activities. He was also going to launch a search for permanent Vice-Chancellor for Advancement.

In November 1998 I met Chancellor Oxendine’s good friend and Interim Vice Chancellor for Advancement D.G Martin.


Joe Oxendine

The Friend of the Friend-D.G. MARTIN


Joe Oxendine Friend D.G. Martin

Many North Carolinians know D.G Martin because he is a fixture on UNC TV doing a weekly show called Bookwatch.

UNC-TV’s North Carolina Bookwatch is the state’s premier literary series, bringing the Tar Heel State’s best and brightest Southern writers to the TV Screen each week. Episodes air Sundays at 12pm, and Thursdays at 5pm on UNC-TV. You can also watch online at:


I hit off great with Joe’s friend D.G. because he was a former college basketball player at Davidson. In fact D.G. dad was the president of Davidson College his name was David Grier Martin (Davidson Class of 1932) and served for 10 years 1958-1968.  D.G the son was on the basketball team from 1959-1962 and played for Lefty Driesell. I thought it must have been pretty neat for a son to play for a college basketball team that not only your dad graduated from but he was president while you were in school.

After college D.G was commissioned in the Army and eventually became a “Special Forces-Green Beret” solider after he completed airborne school. He left the military and attended law school at Yale. D.G eventually went to work as a Vice President at UNC General Administration under President Bill Friday and Dick Spangler. He is married and has two adult children, including NC state legislator Grier Martin his son. D.G like his friend Joe Oxendine is fitness freak and has completed several marathons.

In 1998 right before he came to UNC Pembroke as our Interim Vice Chancellor he narrowly lost the Democratic Primary for US Senate to John Edwards. I often wondered how a lot of lives would have been different if D.G had won that democratic primary. I also realize I would have never gotten to know one of Joe Oxendine good friends.

Martin has also remained dedicated to many civic, charitable and professional activities at the local, state, and national levels, with leadership roles at Davidson College, the YMCA, United Way, the National Conference of Christians and Jews, and the North Carolina Bar Association. Most recently, the Davidson, NC, native enjoys sharing information and ideas with North Carolinians across the state in his weekly newspaper column, “One on One,” and as a frequent contributor to Our State magazine.

I got to see D.G in the summer of 2013 at a retirement celebration in Chapel Hill NC for another good man Bart Corgnati who was a long time UNC administrator.

I am fortunate that Joe Oxendine gave me a chance to be an Athletic Director and meet his friend D.G Martin.

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