Former University of Pittsburgh standout and Pro Football Hall of Famer Curtis Martin is the recipient of the Walter Camp Football Foundation’s 2019 “Man of the Year” award.
The Walter Camp “Man of the Year” award honors an individual who has been closely associated with the game of football as a player, coach or close attendant to the game. He must have attained a measure of success and been a leader in his chosen profession. He must have contributed to the public service for the benefit of his community, country and his fellow man. He must have an impeccable reputation for integrity and must be dedicated to our American Heritage and the philosophy of Walter Camp.
Martin joins a distinguished list of former “Man of the Year” winners, including Roger Staubach (Navy), Gale Sayers (Kansas), Dick Butkus (Illinois), John Elway (Stanford), Jerome Bettis (Notre Dame), and last year’s recipient Mike Golas (Notre Dame).
“We are thrilled to honor Curtis Martin as our Man of the Year,” Foundation President Mario Coppola said. “In addition to his Hall of Fame playing career, Martin’s volunteer work and compassion for others truly embodies what our Foundation stands for.”
A native of Pittsburgh, Pa., Martin attended the University of Pittsburgh where he rushed for 1,045 yards his junior season in 1993. After rushing for a career-best 251 yards in his first game his senior season, he suffered a season-ending injury.
Martin was drafted by the New England Patriots in the third round with the 74th overall pick in the 1995 NFL Draft. He was an 11-year NFL veteran for the Patriots and New York Jets, amassing 14,101 rushing yards – the fifth-highest total in NFL history.
Martin was the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1995 after rushing for 1,487 yards and 14 touchdowns for the Patriots, who reached Super Bowl XXI. Martin would go on to rush for 1,000 or more yards in 10 of his 11 professional seasons, and was named to five Pro Bowls. He earned All-Pro honors in 2001 and 2004. In 2004, he rushed for a career-best 1,697 yards and 12 touchdowns as a member of the Jets.
In 2012, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and later that year, the Jets retired Martin’s No. 28 jersey.
Following his retirement, Martin has involved himself in charity work, including the Curtis Martin Job Foundation, established by Martin during his playing career, and designed to provide “financial aid and hands-on support to single mothers, children’s charities, individuals with disabilities and low income housing providers.”
Martin and his wife Carolina and two daughters currently reside in Long Island.
Martin, along with the 130th annual Walter Camp All-America team and other award winners, will be honored at the organization’s 53rd national awards banquet on Saturday, January 18, 2020, at Yale University’s Lanman Center in New Haven. For more information, visit www.waltercamp.org
Walter Camp, “The Father of American Football,” first selected an All-America team in 1889. Camp – a former Yale University athlete and football coach – is also credited with developing play from scrimmage, set plays, the numerical assessment of goals and tries and the restriction of play to eleven men per side. The Walter Camp Football Foundation – a New Haven based all-volunteer group – was founded in 1967 to perpetuate the ideals of Camp and to continue the tradition of selecting annually an All-America team.
Walter Camp Man of the Year Recipients
2019 – Curtis Martin, Pittsburgh
2018 – Mike Golic, Notre Dame
2017 – Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech
2016 – Warrick Dunn, Florida State
2015 – Fred Biletnikoff, Florida State; Joe Andruzzi, Southern Connecticut State University
2014 – Jerome Bettis, Notre Dame
2013 – Matt Millen, Penn State
2012 – Herm Edwards, San Diego State
2011 – Harry Carson, South Carolina State
2010 – Will Shields, Nebraska
2009 – John Elway, Stanford
2008 – Morten Andersen, Michigan State
2007– Dick Butkus, University of Illinois
2006 – Mike Utley, Washington State
2005 – Dwight Stephenson, Alabama
2004 – Anthony Munoz, Southern California
2003 – Ozzie Newsome, Alabama
2002 – Jim Kelly, Miami (Fla.)
2001 – Mike Singletary, Baylor
2000 – Howie Long, Villanova
1999 – Gil Brandt, Dallas Cowboys
1998 – Lou Holtz, Kent State University
1997 – Calvin Hill, Yale
1996 – Lynn Swann, Southern California
1995 – Reggie Williams, Dartmouth
1994 – Dick Anderson, Colorado
1993 – Warren Moon, Washington
1992 – Bob Griese, Purdue
1991 – Mel Blount, Southern
1990 – Nick Buoniconti, Notre Dame
1989 – Paul Brown, Miami (Ohio)
1988 – Andy Robustelli, Arnold
1987 – Levi Jackson, Yale
1986 – Willie Davis, Grambling
1985 – Ricky Bleier, Notre Dame
1984 – Don Shula, John Carroll
1983 – Roger Staubach, Navy
1982 – Merlin Olsen, Utah State
1981 – Otto Graham, Northwestern
1980 – Gale Sayers, Kansas
1979 – Jack Kemp, Occidental
1978 – Floyd Little, Syracuse
1977 – Fred Dunlap, Colgate
1976 – Edward Krause, Notre Dame
1975 – Pete Dawkins, Army
1974 – Jake Gaither, Knoxville College/Florida A&M
1973 – Duffy Daugherty, Syracuse/Michigan State
1972 – Clinton Frank, Yale
1971 – Doc Blanchard, Army
1970 – Harry Kipke, Michigan
1969 – Pete Rozelle, San Francisco
1968 – Ted Blair, Yale
1967 – Hamilton Fish, Harvard