William Martin’s football career as player and coach has earned him a spot in the Clarendon County Athletic Hall of Fame.
“I’m humbled and honored,” he said. “I’m excited to go in with these other guys.”
Martin’s career began in the eighth grade when he played football for Summerton High School. In his sophomore and junior years, he was voted as the most valuable lineman. In his senior year, the season was cancelled as only nine players came out.
Martin approached Manning High School and was allowed to play his senior year of football under Manning Head Coach Jack Turpin.
The MHS experience was very valuable he said. Not only did Martin get an additional year on the field, but he was selected to play in the 1967 North-South Game in Columbia.
Current Manning Coach and fellow inductee Franklin Thames was Martin’s position coach on the offensive and defensive line. Martin credits Thames’ guidance and teaching for his success.
“He was excellent…a real good coach,” said Martin.
Prior to Martin arriving in Manning, they did not have a good season. When Martin played, the Monarchs ended with an 8-2 record and almost went to the playoffs, losing to Hartsville and were forced to stay home.
“We had a real good team,” he said.
When Martin played in the North/South game, he played offensive guard and his team won 21-7.
Martin then attended Lees McRae College in Banner Elk, N.C., playing football during his freshman and sophomore years.
Once again, he earned honors for his ability and success on the field and was named to the All Western Carolina Junior College Team in 1968, an All American both years and was the team captain in 1969.
His first season resulted in a 10-1 record and an appearance in the junior college National Championship Game.
“We had quite a team and the coaches were extremely good,” he said. “I played on a real good team and luckily got recognized and picked for the All America team.”
Martin completed his college career at Mars Hill College near Ashville, N.C., and Martin continued his athletic dominance his last two years. He was the first player to ever play both offense and defense. Martin went in during critical goal line defensive situations as a linebacker.
“People just weren’t doing that,” he said. “You played offense or defense, you didn’t play both ways but I was able to do it my senior year.”
When his playing career was over, his athletic career was not.
Martin returned to Clarendon County and became the head coach at Clarendon Hall. He was the coach off and on for 15 years, winning one state championship and was state runner-up in the late 1980s.
Martin then went to Laurence Manning Academy for several years where he was able to win a state championship with just 13 players on the team. In one game, they started the game with 11. Their quarterback got hurt which left them with 10 players. LMA played against 11 players and still won the game 28-0. They won the state championship.