EDITORS NOTE: I received this email Tuesday evening from someone who is interested in seeing former Sycamores defensive end Ed "Poncho" Martin added to the Indiana State University Athletics Hall of Fame. As someone who was at ISU when Ponch played, I second that opinion.
"I recently read about the 2008 ISU Sports Hall of Fame inductees. I was surprised and disappointed to find out that a great friend of mine had not been included in the list (and has been left off for years now). I and a few of my friends have tried nominating him through the "standard process" by completing the school's on-line nomination form, but I've never received a response nor has anything ever come of that nomination. I'm writing to you in hopes that you can be instrumental in getting the word out to those who make these decisions. It is hoped that this "gross oversight" can be corrected.
If there is any athlete that is deserving of induction into the Indiana State University Athletic Hall of Fame, it is Ed. “Poncho” Martin, a former Defensive End/Outside Linebacker that played for the Sycamores from 1980 to 1984. You see, though Indiana State’s football program had produced All-American honorees in the past, Ed Martin earned the unique distinction of becoming the first football player in the school’s history to be named to the 1st Team of a Division 1 or 1AA All-America Football Team. After the 1983 football season, he was selected 1st Team NCAA Division 1AA All-America for both the Kodak and Associated Press’ All-America Teams. Being recognized by both of the premiere selection committees was also a first for a Sycamore player. Prior to Ed, no other ISU player had received such recognition from both of the voting bodies.
You could say that distinction alone would merit being honored by the Sycamore Athletic Department, but it is Ed’s body of work over his career at Indiana State and beyond, that really makes him a worthy Hall of Fame inductee. Ed arrived as a freshmen in 1980 with pretty impressive credentials. He was a Special Mention All-State football player at Evanston Township High in Illinois, as well as captain of his high school basketball team. He also made the National Honor Society academically while in high school. The coaching staff at ISU knew they had a tremendous student-athlete on their hands when Ed accepted his scholarship to Indiana State. Over his four year career at ISU, Ed would demonstrate just how tremendous his football talents were.
The awards were numerous and included other firsts besides the aforementioned All-America selection. The accolades included:
Kodak 1st Team All-America Division 1AA 1983
Associated Press 1st Team All-America Division 1AA 1983
Sporting News Magazine 1st Team All-America Division 1AA 1983
Chicago Sports Magazine All-America Team 1983
Indiana State University “Defensive Player of the Year” 1983
Indiana State University “Defensive Player of the Year” 1982
Associated Press 1st Team All Missouri Valley Conference 1983
Associated Press 1st Team All Missouri Valley Conference 1982
United Press International 1st Team All Missouri Valley Conference 1983
United Press International 2nd Team All Missouri Valley Conference 1982
Named Missouri Valley Conference “Defensive Player of the Week” Six (6) times during collegiate career
Drafted 7th Round Dallas Cowboys National Football League 1984
Drafted 6th Round Pittsburgh Maulers United States Football League 1984
Ed finished his career at Indiana State as runner-up for the Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year (he lost out to Terry Taylor of Southern Illinois University). Additionally, Ed’s play on the field was the key ingredient in leading ISU to it’s first ever 9 game winning season and the school’s first ever post-season playoff appearance, as well as, ISU’s first ever Top 10 Division 1AA National ranking. The 1983 football team finished the year with a record of 9 and 4 (still tied for the most wins in a single season in the school’s history), finished the year ranked 5th nationally in Division 1AA, and made it to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division 1AA National Championship playoff (where they lost to eventual National Champions, Southern Illinois University).
The uniqueness of Ed Martin didn’t end when his college football career ended. Following the 1983-1984 football season, Ed became the first football player in ISU’s history to be drafted by two professional football leagues. In 1984 he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Maulers of the United States Football League (USFL) and the Dallas Cowboys of the National football League (NFL). Due to the competitive bidding for athletic talent, Ed actually ended up signing and playing with the Los Angeles Express in the USFL.
Unfortunately for Ed, a common enemy of football players everywhere prevented him from maximizing his opportunities in the pros. He suffered two knee injuries and was forced to retire early on in his pro career, before he could make his mark in the pro ranks. After the USFL folded in 1985, he joined the Dallas Cowboys of the NFL, but due to the restricting effects of his knee injuries, his time in Dallas was all too brief. Not being able to be an impact player with the Cowboys, Ed left Dallas and returned to Indiana State where he completed the academic requirements to graduate and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications from ISU. After graduating, he gave the NFL one more try, this time with the Indianapolis Colts. But once again, his bad knees prove to be too much to overcome. After a brief stint with Indy, Ed decided to retire from professional football permanently.
Always having the attitude of a winner, and the determination of a true warrior, Ed has made a success out of life after football. Following his playing days, Ed spent almost 10 years working in Hollywood, California in the field of Sports Commercial, Film, and Television Production. He worked as both a Technical Consultant and as a Stunt Utility Actor in commercials, films, and television shows that had a sports/football theme. Some of the projects that he was involved in included the movies “Jerry McGuire” with Tom Cruise, and “Executive Decision” with Halle Berry. Television projects have included “The John Laraquet Show” and HBO’s “Arliss.” Commercials have been for companies and products such as Snickers, Nike, and Coca-Cola. As well as contributing his talent to a live-action CD-ROM football game called “Mike Ditka’s Quarterback Attack.”
Having moved away from California in 1999 and returning to his birth place, Ed is now a Real Estate Investor and a licensed Real Estate Agent in the Atlanta, Georgia area. He is the father of three kids. He is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Sports Management. Ed will become the first person in his family to earn a Masters Degree. Given Ed’s penchant for first time accomplishments, there is no doubt that his family will soon be honoring him as their first Maters Degree recipient.
Ed has been the embodiment of what a successful student-athletic from Indiana State University is all about. The spirit of ISU athletics has been glorified through him, both in his professional career and his personal life. His accomplishments trumpet Ed’s worthiness of induction into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame.