Former WSU quarterback Jamie Martin will be the first Wildcat in school history to have his jersey retired on Saturday during halftime of the football game.  (Source: Weber State Athletics)
Former WSU quarterback Jamie Martin will be the first Wildcat in school history to have his jersey retired on Saturday during halftime of the football game.
(Source: Weber State Athletics)

For the first time in school history, the Weber State Wildcats will be retiring an athlete’s jersey on Saturday during halftime at the football game against Northern Colorado.

Former WSU quarterback Jamie Martin will be at Stewart Stadium on Saturday afternoon as his No. 10 jersey becomes the first jersey to be retired at Weber State.

“I was definitely excited. It’s such a neat thing, I mean, that’s the ultimate kind of award that an athlete can be given,” Martin said. “After the excitement, I just felt proud of all the players that I played with and the coaches that I played for and just having them hopefully them be proud of being a part of this, and having this award kind of represent them.”

Former WSU football head coach Dave Arslanian was excited to hear that his former player was being honored by the school, saying that it was a big deal.

“I’m very proud of him, always have been,” Arslanian said. “Very deserving, very excited for Jamie and very pleased for his family.”

Martin played for the Wildcats from 1989 to 1992, setting several team and conference records while being named to the Big Sky All-Conference team three times. Martin was also a two-time All-American, and the winner of the 1991 Walter Payton Trophy for being the top offensive player in Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). Last year, Martin was ranked No. 9 on the Big Sky’s 50 Greatest Male Athletes list.

“We’ve never done it here, so about a year and a half ago we started to have a conversation,” said WSU Athletics Director Jerry Bovee on the process of retiring Martin’s jersey. “I talked with (Vice President of Administrative Services Norm Tarbox) and some of our staff. I was trying to get the context of historically why haven’t we (retired athlete’s jerseys), and there’s just no rhyme or reason.”

Bovee said that the athletics department helped set up a committee that would nominate players for this honor, and then they would take the nomination before the President’s Council.

“Jamie Martin was the obvious choice,” Bovee said. “He’s our only Payton Award winner in the history of the school and held numerous records, so that was where we started.”

During his four years with the Wildcats, Martin completed 934 of 1,544 pass attempts for 12,207 yards, 87 touchdowns and 56 interceptions. He also had 80 career rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns. Twenty two years after his last snap with the Wildcats, Martin is still the school’s career leader in total offense with 12,287 yards—one of only two Wildcats in history with at least 10,000 total yards—and is second in career passing yards behind former Wildcat Cameron Higgins, who broke Martin’s record in 2010.

“He was a great leader, and he led (not only) by example but also by the strength of his character,” Arslanian said. “He was a great player. He didn’t care for the spotlight, but whenever the spotlight was on him he played extremely well. He always, always played well. He never had a bad game for his three-and-a-half years as our starting quarterback.”

Over his career, Martin averaged 297.73 passing yards per game over 41 career games, the fifth-highest career average in the Big Sky Conference. Martin also holds the Big Sky record for average total yards per game in a single season, averaging 394.3 total yards per game in 1991 as a junior.

Looking back at his career at Weber State, Martin remembered the years fondly.

“It was a great time in my life,” Martin said. “It’s a time where I left home to go to school and meet new people and I got lucky enough to play college football, and just play with many, many great players and play for great coaches, and just experience the whole college football atmosphere. The whole experience was just pretty awesome for me.”

After Weber State, Martin went on to play nine seasons in the NFL from 1993 to 2008, seeing game action for the St. Louis Rams, the Jacksonville Jaguars and the New Orleans Saints. In his NFL career, Martin completed 355 of 541 pass attempts for 3,814 yards, 20 touchdowns and 21 interceptions. Martin’s best season in the NFL came in 2005, when he completed 124 of 177 pass attempts for 1,277 yards, five touchdowns and seven interceptions, while compiling a 4-1 record as starting quarterback with the Rams.

Since leaving the NFL in 2008, Martin has been coaching football. Martin said when he realized he wasn’t going to be in the NFL anymore, he ended up becoming the coach for his son’s fifth-grade football team that fall. Since then, Martin has coached junior high and high school football, and currently is helping coach the Parkway West High School football team, where his son is a sophomore on the team.

“It’s giving back to the game that’s been so awesome to me my whole life,” Martin said.

Martin will be at the Stewart Stadium Sky Suites at 11 a.m. on Saturday before the game for a pre-game reception open to the public. Martin, Bovee, Arslanian and Weber State President Chuck Wight will speak at the event. Martin’s jersey retirement ceremony will take place at halftime of the football game that afternoon.

The Wildcats and the Bears will kick off at 1 p.m.

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