Tyler Martell served as defensive coordinator for the last seven seasons under Josh Line, who resigned in December.
Tyler Martell served as defensive coordinator for the last seven seasons under Josh Line, who resigned in December.

In 2007, Tyler Martell fulfilled a dream by helping Sheldon win a football state title in his senior season.

After the championship game, though, he came to a sobering realization.

“I remember being at Reser Stadium, and I was like, 'What am I supposed to do now?” Martell said. “Because the only thing I ever wanted to do was play football here.”

Thankfully, then-coach Marty Johnson invited Martell to assist in the program the following year, and he hasn't left since. This week, one month after the resignation of head coach Josh Line, Martell was hired as Sheldon's coach.

“I had such a good experience here as a player, that I just want to give back to our kids,” said Martell, who played safety and receiver for the Irish. “It's not about me being the head coach, it's about the guys I get to coach with every day. We've been lucky to have that continuity on our staff for a long time.”

Martell helped coach the freshman team from 2008 to 2015 and joined the varsity staff in 2016. He was a candidate for the head coaching job in 2017 when Line was hired to replace Lane Johnson. He served as the defensive coordinator under Line for the last seven seasons.

“I thought seven years ago I was ready for the job,” said Martell, who drew the recommendation of Lane Johnson at the time. “The amount I've learned over that time has been so much. I'm just way more prepared now.”

Martell said he interviewed for head coaching jobs at “a few different places” since 2017.

“I've always been really happy here,” said Martell, a math teacher at the school. “Josh Line treated me really, really well, so it's not like I was ever in this mode where I have to get out. But when opportunities show up, you kind of look at them. I think things turned out how they should.

“It's been such an amazing thing to play and coach with Marty Johnson and Lane Johnson, and coach with Josh. I've learned so much over the last 16 years.”

Martell also began coaching in Sheldon's baseball program in his first year out of high school and served two seasons as the head coach, guiding the Irish to the 6A semifinals in 2016 and 2017. He stepped down as the baseball coach when he became defensive coordinator.

Martell, who spent one year as Sheldon's interim athletic director, has a deep connection with the community.

“I've done a lot of stuff around here,” Martell said. “Now it's nice to kind of be solidified, and this is what I'm going to be doing. I met with my guys the other day and it was like, 'I don't need to introduce myself to you guys. I've been here longer than most of you guys have been alive.”

Sheldon is one of the state's premier programs. The Irish won big-school titles in 2002, 2007, 2009 and 2012. They were runners-up in 2001, 2011, 2018 and 2022.

Martell said he expects the core of the coaching staff to remain the same. He will be the defensive coordinator, Jordan Johnson will be the offensive coordinator and Scott Wright will coach the special teams. Les Phillipo will continue coaching the lines, with help from Bill Hewes, who joined the staff from Lake Oswego last year.

“On Friday night, if someone showed up to watch Sheldon play, they wouldn't notice really any differences schematically,” Martell said.

Jordan Johnson, Marty's son and the quarterback for the 2007 title team, is a longtime friend of Martell's.

“It's really cool for me to get to coach with Jordan,” Martell said. “It's one of the things I've always wanted to do. I'd interview at other jobs only because Jordan said, 'Hey, I'll go with you.' So now it's cool. We teach next to each other and we get to coach with each other.”

Line, who went 55-19 in seven seasons at Sheldon, said he resigned to spend more time with his family. After going 12-1 and falling to West Linn in the state final in 2022, the Irish went through a rebuilding year in 2023, finishing 6-4 after losing to Lakeridge in the first round of the playoffs.

Much of last year's team is eligible to return next season.

“The cupboard is definitely not bare,” Martell said. “We have these guys who have played a whole bunch. It just makes it so you don't have to start from ground zero.”