McHENRY – Dave Martin spent 20 seasons as an assistant men's basketball coach at Garrett College before his untimely passing in 2007. Longevity, however, is the least of the reasons he will posthumously receive the first Lifetime Achievement Award as the Garrett College Athletic Hall of Fame induction dinner, scheduled for 6 p.m. on October 27th in the Community Aquatic and Recreation Center (CARC) Gym.
"Not a week goes by without someone from the past mentioning him, his offbeat humor and his willingness to help any of us at any time," said GC Athletics Director Dennis Gibson, who brought Martin on as an assistant in 1987 when Gibson was starting his second season as the Lakers' head coach. "He always took under his care the players from the toughest or neediest backgrounds and made them feel welcome. There is no way of replacing such a special person, but we're honored he can be remembered for what he represented: A lifetime of achievement."
Fran Martin said her husband – who as a student athlete played both basketball and baseball during GC's early years – had a love for both basketball and the college. Those twin loves allowed him to make a lasting impact on the players he coached.
"A big role he had was to mentor and help those athletes – to make sure they succeeded in college and in their goals," said Fran Martin. "The ones who really didn't have a lot of support, they were the ones he really tied into. And those ties didn't just last for that year or two – they were long-lasting. Dave wanted to make them feel welcome and to make sure they knew he was there to help."
"He was just constantly here – practice, games, fundraising, recruiting," recalled WCBC broadcaster Paul Mullan, who is also in his 35th season as the public address announcer for Laker games. "We still play his rendition of the National Anthem because no one did it better, and it reminds us of his great dedication."
In addition to honoring Martin, Garrett College will welcome five new members into the GC Athletic Hall of Fame on October 27th. Former baseball coach Lawrence Nesselrodt, former baseball players Darryl Dupert and Ernie Shotwell, former women's basketball player Marcia DeBerry Knepp, and former women's volleyball/basketball player Erica McBride Stewart are this year's inductees.
Tickets for the dinner buffet – $20 per person, with children under 12 free – may be reserved by clicking here. A limited amount of tickets will be available at the door.
Gibson said Martin – who served as Garrett County Clerk of the Circuit Court – had a wide variety of skills and interests.
"I would bet there was not a more widely known person in Garrett County as a politician, coach, singer, church deacon or friend than Dave Martin," said Gibson.
Gibson and Martin – who also coached in the golf and boys' basketball programs at his alma mater, Southern Garrett High – proved to be a winning coaching combination. The pair combined to guide the Lakers to a state title, two regional crowns and a national tournament berth. In addition, the Lakers were almost annual title contenders during their partnership on the bench.
"Dave's friendship with Dennis was really one of a kind," said Fran Martin. "They worked together very well and created a very successful basketball program. That [working with Gibson in the GC basketball program] was one of his passions."
"His dying wish was to forever be a Laker," said Mullan. "No one deserves it more."