Dover, Del. (Aug. 24, 2017) --- Delaware State University joins the family of John C. Martin in announcing the passing of the former University Director of Athletics on Aug. 24 at age 85.
Martin was appointed by then Delaware State College President Luna I. Mishoe to head the Hornets’ athletics department in 1985. He held the position until 1996.
During Martin’s tenure, Delaware State’s men’s and women’s programs was each recognized as tops in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, while Hornet teams captured a total of 11 MEAC championships.
In 1987, Delaware State received the MEAC’s Mary McLeod Bethune All-Sports Award for overall excellence in women’s sports. The Hornets were presented with the Talmadge Hill Award for overall excellence in men’s sports in 1990.
Under Martin’s leadership, the Hornets won four MEAC football championships (1987, ’88, ’89, ’91), along with conference titles in volleyball (1986), men’s and women’s indoor track and field (1987), baseball (1989), men’s cross country (1989), women’s cross country (1990) and men’s outdoor track & field (1992).
Martin was Director of Athletics when the softball program was formed at Delaware State in 1992. He was also instrumental in the establishment of the school’s Athletics Compliance Office and a major proponent of the NCAA’s Academic Enhancement Program, which provides funding for academic assistance at member institutions.
In addition, he helped spearhead successful football classic contests featuring the Hornets at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich., in 1992 and Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia in 1994.
Martin also helped negotiate the first athletics competition between Delaware State and University of Delaware teams. The Hornets defeated the Blue Hens in men’s basketball 99-95 in the first head-to-head meeting between teams from the state’s two Division I schools in 1991.
He was inducted into the Delaware State University Athletics Hall-of-Fame in 2001.
Before coming to Delaware State, Martin was Director of Athletics and highly decorated Head Men’s and Women’s Track & Field/Cross Country Coach at Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn.
Funeral arrangements have yet to be released.