Class of 2008
David Martin started sports in junior high school playing basketball, but before his career was over he would be remembered not for his basketball skills, but what he did in football. Still today, he is considered one of the top linemen to ever walk the halls of Athens High School.
David started playing football his freshman season at Athens High in 1950 under legendary coach Ferman Elmore. He lettered three years in 1952-1953 and was considered by many as one of the fastest, strongest and quickest linemen in Alabama.
Martin's senior season at Athens High School in 1952 was really something! It was the first time Athens beat Decatur in football.
Athens went on to tie the Butler Rebels of Huntsville, which was #1 ranked in the state at the time. A loss to Tuscumbia in the final game of the season cost the Golden Eagles the state championship.
Martin made the All-State team his senior season and was offered scholarships at Florida, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Southern Miss, Florence State and Middle Tennessee.
He chose Middle Tennessee because it was closer to home. He was there two seasons until 1955 when Middle Tennessee cut him from their scholarship because a big running back from Tennessee came to MTSU to play football. He then talked to coach Hal Self at Florence State and was granted a half scholarship to play football there.
He went on to star for the Lions where twice he was voted by his teammates and coaches as the "Most Valuable Lineman" in 1958 and 1959. He also earned a fourth letter, becoming the third player in UNA history to do so. The late Vince Lombardi, the legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers, showed some interest in Martin who received a letter from the Packers asking him to send some information on his football career. But he was told Green Bay preferred their linemen to be at least six feet.
Martin returned to Florence State in the fall of 1960 to finish his college. He became a student coach and graduated in January of 1961.
He was voted in 1989 on the All-UNA decade team for the past 40 years. "Martin is considered by former coaches and players to be one of the top linemen ever at UNA," UNA officials said in announcing the All-Decade team.