The Kind of Coach, Mentor You'd Love to Have
In 1951, Ed Martin excelled as a baseball star at North Carolina A&T before joining the Philadelphia Stars in the Negro American Baseball League. He played against Hank Aaron and many other future Major League stars as a member of the Cincinnati Reds system before a career-ending shoulder injury forced him to retire.
Born in Allentown, PA in 1925, Martin earned his bachelor’s degree from North Carolina A&T University, and his M.A. from Temple University.
He began a coaching career that spanned 33 years with his first coaching position at Avery High School in Charleston, South Carolina from 1952 to 1955, and led his Tigers to two state championships.
Martin went to South Carolina State College in 1955, where he coached seven SIAC championship teams and participated in five NCAA and
three NAIA tournaments.
In 1968, Martin was named the head coach of the fabled Tennessee State men’s basketball program for 17 years until 1985 and built a powerhouse that amassed 290 victories (the most in school history) and won 63 percent of the games he coached.
From 1968 to 1986, Martin’s teams set multiple school records. His 1971-72 team broke the record for the highest shooting percentage and rebounds in a season. (Both records still stand today). The Tigers finished the regular season as the top ranked Associated Press National College Division team following a 20-win season. They scored more than 100 points four times and notched the school’s 600th all-time victory with a win against Northern Kentucky State.
His 500th win came with a 60-41 victory over Morehead State on
November, 28, 1984. Martin took the Tigers to six NCAA regional tournaments, won the NCAA South Regional four times, and was elected College Division Coach of the Year in 1972 after leading the Tigers to the United Press International college division national title. He sent sixteen Tigers to the NBA, but more impressively, he had the highest graduation rate among basketball players in the state of Tennessee. Martin’s career record stands at 516-254 in 27 seasons (at South Carolina State and TSU) and he had the fifth best winning percentage in the nation.
Martin sent 16 players to the professional basketball leagues, including Monti Davis, Ted McClain, Leonard “Truck” Robinson, Mike Milligan and Lloyd Neal
In 1989, he joined C.M. Newton’s staff at Vanderbilt for four seasons as an assistant and tutored future NBA player Will Perdue. He was Associate Professor of Human Organization and Development, and later a scout for the NBA.
He served as an associate professor of human and organizational development, emeritus, at Peabody College. He passed away on Feb. 25, 2002.