Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/4/09
Former Philadelphia Wings standout Gary Martin, a two-time lacrosse All-American at Penn State who has coached nearly two decades of youth lacrosse for Radnor and Lacrosse Fever, was recently inducted into the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
Martin, a native of Long Island who resides in Radnor Township, played for the Wings from 1988-95 when they played in the Major Indoor Lacrosse League. He was on championship teams in 1989, ’90, ’94 and ’95 and also served as a special assistant and assistant coach for the Wings from 1996-2000, helping them win another crown in 1998.
Martin also played club lacrosse with Eagle’s Eye Lacrosse Club, Philly Lax Club and Philadelphia MAB Paints. Martin played with Penn State from 1981-84 and still holds the school records in points (252), assists (156), points in one game (14) and assists in one game (9). He scored 96 career goals and led the nation in goals, assists and points in 1982.
Martin has coached boys and girls as a youth coach for Radnor Lacrosse for 19 years and coaches with the Philadelphia Fever U-14 team.
Martin can take pride in one group of girls he coached at the youth level. The Radnor High girls’ team, ranked No. 1 in the state, is playing Strath Haven for the Pennsylvania championship Saturday at HersheyPark Stadium, and Martin coached nearly all of the players at one time between 3rd and 8th grades. One of the players he coached is his daughter, Red Raiders junior Allie Martin, a key starter.
Also inducted into the Hall of Fame were Daily News sports writer Phil Jasner, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.; Morton Shiekman, a Penn offensive guard who was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1940s; Cliff Bayer, an NCAA foil champion at Penn and an Olympian in 1996 and 2000; Jeanne Friedman, a founding member of Boston University’s crew team and a former Penn assistant coach; and Michael Tollin, a movie and television producer, and his father, Sol.
“The tribute was more amazing that I expected,” said Martin. “You had a two-time Olympic fencer, and an 87-year-old (Shiekman) who played offensive guard for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“I was whispering to him and he said he played offensive guard. I said, ‘You’re 5-foot-5.’ He said, I shrunk six inches,” added Martin with a laugh. “He was so funny. You had Ruben Amaro and Phil Jasner and a crew athlete who spent 30 years building up a crew program.”
Martin said that Michael Barkann of Comast Sportsnet was the MC.
“He was pretty impressive,” Martin said. “In all, it was very memorable and remarkable to be included in that group of eight.”
Martin said he played pro lacrosse for so long because he still loved the sport and the chance to compete for a championship.
“We all did it for the love of the game and I did it for the (championship) ring,” he said. “When we won that first championship, we cherished the ring. We proceeded to get four more.
“We all knew that money wasn’t an issue. We played in front of 16,000 fans and really the Philadelphia sports fans are the best in the nation. They embraced us beyond belief.”