"I think I owe it as a head coach to say around the country or to the state of Missouri, there was an incident that took place, a real incident, and we have to learn from it and continue to push forward," Martin said. "There's still residue from it and that's part of the growth. We have to talk about it."
The tension led to the departures of both the school's president and chancellor in the wake of the protests. Missouri's enrollment numbers have been in a steady decline since the protests, reaching the school's lowest total this fall since 2008 .
The school's football and men's basketball programs have declined, too, with both teams finishing at the bottom of the Southeastern Conference in each of the last two seasons. Missouri's football team has won three straight, but remains under .500 with a single SEC win with three games remaining.
In basketball, the last-place streak extends back three seasons and it cost coach Kim Anderson his job.
The 46-year-old Martin has done his part to make the coaching transition as comfortable as possible for Missouri's returning players. He holds repeated meetings with players in his office, talks of the importance of personal character over being a basketball player. He invited the team to his house to watch August's boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor.
Externally, Martin is counting on the platform he's been given at Missouri to show the healing has begun — even if he plans to do so more with his actions than words.
"It doesn't always have to be loud voice. Sometimes you can move behind the scenes and make change and to do your part," Martin said. "If anything, (the protests) made me more excited to be there. I'm born and raised here, and oftentimes, I feel like you have to do your part in life."