Sugarloaf, Pa. - Thursday, April 27 was a night of celebration for the late great head coach of Penn State Hazleton Golf with the induction of P.G.A. professional Jason Martonick into the Penn State Hazleton Sports Hall of Fame. Martonick's ceremony came at the conclusion of the Athletic Department's annual sports banquet which was held at Martonick's old stomping grounds, the Valley Country Club in Sugarloaf Township. Several former and current players along with Martonick's successor and longtime colleague, Assistant Director of Athletics, Ryan Aten (Berwick, Pa.) conducted the honors with members of Martonick's family present for the commemoration.
The induction was emotional and bittersweet for those in attendance. Martonick passed away unexpectedly in late July of 2022, just weeks before the start of the fall semester at Penn State Hazleton. His passing sent shockwaves through the Penn State University Athletic Conference where Martonick had been a staple in the coaching ranks since the inception of the collegiate golf program in 2006, and left a void in the Penn State Hazleton golf program that will never truly be filled. Following his death, Martonick's current roster went through many ups and downs over the course of their fall season, but ultimately prevailed in the end, winning the conference championship for a second straight year and marking the late coach's third career PSUAC title.
Over the course of his coaching career, Martonick teams won titles in 2011, 2022 and 2023. In addition, he coached four individual PSUAC champions including Nick Tristani (Weatherly, Pa.) in 2011, Ty Morzilla (Berwick, Pa.) in 2014 and Jeremy Harper (Mountain Top, Pa.) in 2021 and 2022. Along with those coaching accolades, Martonick won numerous coach of the year awards and coached the 2015 United States Collegiate Athletic Association Women's National Champion, Katie Behnert (Montandon, Pa.).
Those achievements on their own were enough to secure Martonick's place of honor in the hall of fame, but what set Jason Martonick apart from other coaches in the conference and at the campus was his knowledge of the game, his mentorship and the relationships he forged with his players. During the course of the ceremony, former four-year student-athlete Brandon Haydt (Hobbie, Pa.) recalled his first encounter with Martonick and the influence he had on him throughout his career and beyond. John Hawley (Mountain Top, Pa.) echoed those sentiments and remarked on how his coach took particular interests in his player's lives off the golf course. Current senior Jeremy Harper boasted on how much of an impact Martonick had on his career, particularly on the mental aspects of playing golf and how those lessons could be applied to life off the course. Finally, Aten concluded the program by stating, "Jay's real legacy is the values he instilled in the scores of players he coached at Penn State Hazleton and the hundreds more he impacted at campuses across the commonwealth. His alumni have gone on to become engineers, entrepreneurs, golf professionals and much more. Their success is his success."
Head Coach Jason Martonick is now the 29th member of the Penn State Hazleton Sports Hall of Fame. While he is no longer physically with the Penn State Hazleton family and the golf program. His impact on the lives of student-athletes remains and his values will continue to be a part of the golf program and the local community for many years to come.