Kate Martin, left, on the Saturday Night Live stage with Caitlin Clark, Gabbie Marshall and Jada Gyamfi.
Kate Martin, left, on the Saturday Night Live stage with Caitlin Clark, Gabbie Marshall and Jada Gyamfi.

For Hearst Illinois

MOLINE – The fanfare surrounding the Iowa women’s basketball team has stretched beyond the players.

Even the parents of the players from this year’s NCAA Tournament runner-up Hawkeyes have turned into stars and that includes Kate Martin’s parents Matt and Jill.

After a dinner in Davenport, the former Edwardsville football coach and his wife were asked to pose for photos.

“Two of the waitresses ran out into the parking lot and asked if they could take selfies with us,” Matt said.

That’s what happens when you’re the parents of “The Glue” on what was one of the most talked about women’s basketball teams in the country. Call it the Caitlin Clark effect.

Matt and Jill Martin recently moved to Moline after living in Edwardsville, where both were teaching. Matt was at EHS and Jill was at Goshen Elementary. All three of their children – Kennedy, Trevor and Kate – graduated from EHS.

For Matt and Jill, who are both teaching in the Moline area, it’s been a fun experience watching their youngest child live out a dream playing for Iowa and then getting drafted in the WNBA Draft by the Las Vegas Aces.

“Kate gets to be an adult and live a dream at the same time,” Matt said. “It’s been a heck of a ride the last couple of weeks.”

That ride hit a high point Monday when Kate, a 2018 EHS graduate, was selected in the second round of the WNBA Draft by the Las Vegas Aces. She went 18th overall.

Matt and Jill were watching the draft with family in the Moline area.

“Kate going 18th overall totally shocked us,” Matt said.

Jill wasn’t as shocked.

“I just felt happy for her. I wasn’t overly surprised. I was very happy for her. I know it was something that she wanted,” Jill said.

Leading into the draft, the Martin family had heard rumors of Kate possibly being drafted by the Indiana Fever in the late rounds after taking Clark with the No. 1 pick.

But with the Fever selecting Ohio State guard Celeste Taylor with the 15th pick in the second round, the thought of Kate going to Indiana, as well, became tougher to imagine.

“We had our fingers crossed but didn’t know what was going to happen,” Matt said.

Three picks later, though, Kate’s name was called with the two-time defending WNBA champion Aces taking her with the second of their three second-round draft picks.

Matt believes Las Vegas could be a great fit for Kate, especially with Becky Hammon as the coach. She was a former assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs.

“I think Hammon is the certain type of coach looking for a certain type of person. I think she sees something in Kate,” Matt said.

Kate will be in training camp with Las Vegas when it starts on April 28. Preseason games begin May 3 with the regular season starting May 14.

The WNBA Draft wasn’t the only highlight of Kate’s trip to New York.

On Saturday, Kate and couple of her Iowa teammates attended Saturday Night Live with Clark, who was making a guest appearance.

During the show’s signoff, Kate was on-stage with Clark and the rest of their Iowa teammates.

“We didn’t know. We knew she was going to be there but didn’t know she was going to be up on stage,” Jill said. “She texted us in the middle of the show, saying, ‘Oh my gosh, we get to be on the stage at the end.’”

It’s been a surreal last month for the Martin family.

And the experience isn’t over yet.

“It has still been a whirlwind and we’re still in it,” Matt said. “I imagine we will still be on pins and needles until she either makes the team or gets cut.

“It’s been a ride.”