Benjamin S. Martin Jr., 83, service academies'

July 29, 2004

Services for Benjamin Stillwell Martin Jr., a star athlete and former assistant football coach at the U.S. Naval Academy who later enjoyed a long coaching career at the Air Force Academy, will be held at 1 p.m. August 11 at the Naval Academy Columbarium in Annapolis.

Mr. Martin, who was 83, died of heart failure Saturday at a nursing home in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Born and raised in Prospect Park, Pa., Mr. Martin attended Princeton University before entering the Naval Academy, where he played football from 1942 to 1944 at halfback and end positions, and was named a Third Team All-American in his senior year. He also earned three varsity letters in track and was the senior brigade commander.

After graduating in 1945, he served aboard the USS Helena until returning to the academy in 1949 as assistant football coach.

Known as "the Father of Air Force Football," he was head coach at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs from 1958 to 1977, where he compiled a 96-103-9 record. He took the Falcons to the 1963 Gator Bowl and 1970 Sugar Bowl.

After retiring, he worked for several years as a commentator for ABC-TV football, until returning to the Air Force Academy in 1987. He was a color analyst for Falcon football until stepping down in 2002.

Mr. Martin will be buried at the Naval Academy alongside his wife of 53 years, the former Harriett Jones, who died in 1998.

Surviving are two sons, Lawrence "Bud" Martin of Cambridge, Mass., and Ben R. Martin of Santa Clara, Calif.; a brother, Robert T. Martin of Lewes, Del.; and a sister, Doris Clark of Wallingford, Pa.

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