Toby Martin and Danielle Clark worked together at a basketball camp at Colby College, but it wasn’t until they moved over 3,000 miles away that they became close friends.

Both played professionally in Germany on teams 45 minutes away from one another and got together whenever they had a break.

“We probably met up five or six times that first year,” Martin said. “The first summer after the first year we started to hang out at home.”

Both are home for good now — Clark after playing five years in Europe and Martin three — and have started a new chapter in their lives. This fall, the pair will begin jobs as assistant coaches for the University of Southern Maine women’s basketball team.

“I really wanted to be at home and do something different with my life,” said Clark, who starred at Nokomis High School in Newport and went on to score over 1,000 points at the University of New Hampshire.

Martin, 25, also thought it was time for a change. After starring at Maranacook Community High School and Franklin Pierce University, she played for a Level 2 team in Germany and had asked her agent to explore moving to a Level 1 team this year.

“She said the economy is really struggling over there,” Martin said. “Several Level I teams have dropped out of the league. Her honest opinion was to take the (USM) job. I had three awesome years over there. At some point I needed to start a long-term future for myself.”

Martin’s job is full-time and includes an administrative intern’s position while Clark will supplement her seasonal assistant’s job with other work in the Portland area. Both women have the privilege of working for head coach Gary Fifield, who has over 500 career victories and is a past Division III National Coach of the Year. Fifield knew both women from working at his basketball camps and had approached Martin a couple of years ago about the assistant’s job.

“She’s got a lot of energy,” Fifield said. “I think her personality will come through in her recruiting. She’s very positive.”

Fifield said he’ll expose both Martin and Clark to all aspects of the job from practices to recruiting to breaking down film. They are an ideal practice combination in that Martin is a point guard and Clark a post player.

“She’s got a real good head for the game,” Fifield said of Clark, who taught at some of his summer camps. “She’s a real good teacher.”

Clark is working her seventh camp this summer at Bentley University this week and is anxious to explore a coaching career.

“I thought like a coach when I was playing,” she said.

Martin likewise is ready to see what her future in the game holds and sees her new job as a good transition from her playing days.

“I’ve always told myself I’d like to see if coaching is something I’d want to do,” she said. “This year I can jump in and practice with the girls.”

The Huskies went 21-7 last season, losing in the first round of the NCAA Div. III national championship tournament. They graduated some key players but have a strong incoming class, Fifield said, including University of Maine transfer Becca Knight.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]

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