Twenty-two years after playing his final game, former Weber State star quarterback Jamie Martin was at Stewart Stadium on Saturday as his jersey became the first ever to be retired by Weber State.
During halftime of the Wildcats’ football game against Northern Colorado, Martin and his family were out on the field at Stewart Stadium where he was presented with a framed jersey before the unveiling of the plaque with his name and jersey number that will be permanently displayed below the press box on the west side of the stadium.
“Quarterback always looks good and gets too much credit when things are going well,” Martin said during a pregame reception filled with friends, family and former teammates. “And lucky enough, things went really well for us and that’s because of these guys and so many other great players I got to play with. I appreciate you guys being here and hope all of you take pride in this, and when you see No. 10 up there, it’s because of all of you.”
Former Weber State head coach Dave Arslanian was at the reception, and was one of the main speakers at the event. During his speech, he thanked those that had given Martin support throughout his career, and at one point addressed Martin’s former high school coach, Jon Huss, and thanked him for helping further Martin’s career.
“Thanks for preparing him and sending him to us ready to play,” Arslanian said. “And even more, thank you for when he wanted to be a receiver as a freshman. You said ‘No, you’re a quarterback.'”
Huss, who coached Martin at Arroyo Grande High School from 1985 to 1988, said after the reception that he was glad Martin was receiving this honor, especially because of how humble Martin is.
“It’s a very gratifying experience to say the least. I’m glad that the school is recognizing what he accomplished while he was here,” Huss said. “He’s such a humble individual, that it makes it even more special that he’d be the last guy to beat his own drum and point towards himself, and so I think it’s exceptional that they recognized his accomplishments and are doing this.”
When asked if he had ever thought Martin would go on to have the successful career he had, Huss said that there was never a doubt in his mind about Martin having that kind of success. Huss spoke about a conversation he had with former college football coach and father of Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway, Jack Elway, after a high school football game in which Huss’s team lost to John Elway’s team.
“I went over, and I was feeling sorry for myself, and so I said to Coach Elway, ‘I just can’t get my quarterback to perform.’ And he looked me right in the eye and he goes, ‘Jon, if you’re lucky, one time in your coaching career you will get a great quarterback. It’s up to you to recognize him,'” Huss said. “And Jamie came along about four years later and I recognized him.”
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.
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.
“Those are things you sometimes don’t even think about. You don’t think that far ahead,” Arslanian said when asked if he expected Martin to have the success he had. “You expect great things to happen and we knew great things would happen when we recruited him out of high school. I don’t think any of us expected things to turn out as great as they have.”
After Weber State, Martin went on to play 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.
At the end of the day, Martin said that he never thought he would be where he is now with his jersey retired by Weber State, and says that a lot of the credit belongs to all of his teammates.
“When I first came here as an 18-year-old kid just trying to make the football team and then playing football, I could never imagine anything like this,” Martin said. “But here we are and it’s been a great ride. This is just as much their award as it is mine.”