WVU Sports Hall of Fame
Written by Greg Walker
Homer "Moose" Martin was WVU's starting fullback in the University's first-ever postseason bowl game, a 21-13 win against Gonzaga on Christmas Day, 1922, in the East-West Bowl in San Diego. Martin was one of 19 players on that 1922 team which posted a 10-0-1 record.
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Once described as "like trying to stop a big moose in the Maine woods with a slingshot," the Charleston native won four letters in football and three each in basketball and baseball. He played on the gridiron for coaches Mont McIntire in 1919-20 and Clarence Spears in 1921-22. WVU had a 28-10-3 record during his four years at fullback. He also handled all the punting and passing duties during the 1922 season and earned All-America honorable mention.
On the baseball diamond, playing the favorite of his three sports, Martin caught for the Mountaineers and was team captain in 1921. He played for Kemper Shelton in 1919 and for Ira Errett Rodgers in 1920-21. WVU posted an impressive 51-19 record during his three seasons of hardball. Martin went on to play professionally in the Cleveland Indians' minor league organization for the Charleston Senators.
Martin's career on the basketball court was distinguished as well. One of the most prolific scorers of the early years of Mountaineer basketball, Martin scored 20 points in one game on nine separate occasions; that feat was not matched for another 26 years; Leland Byrd (1945-48) scored 20 points 10 times. Martin, the team captain in 1921, played for coaches H.P. Mullenex in 1919 and Francis Stadsvold in 1921-22. The Mountaineers were 31-27 during Martin's three years on the court. Martin, who bore a striking resemblance to the late actor Raymond Burr, was born June 22, 1898, at Porter's Creek in Clay County. He married the former Frankie Marie Filson in 1923 and had two children, Marie (now Marie Martin Collins), who worked in the West Virginia athletic department for a number of years, and Homer Jr. Martin also has three grandchildren, Jim Collins, Lynne Collins Voorhees and Marilyn Martin. He passed away at the age of 52 on July 17, 1950 at Gallipolis, Ohio, after suffering a stroke.
Martin was a multi-sport standout at Charleston High School before entering WVU. He graduated from the University in 1922 with a degree in engineering and was a member of Beta Theta fraternity while in Morgantown. After college, Martin played professional football with the Huntington Boosters and Ashland Armco.
He went on to coach the WVU freshman football team from 1927-29, and later coached at Point Pleasant High School, New River State College (now West Virginia Tech) and Morris Harvey College (now the University of Charleston). Martin then retired from coaching to become the owner and operator of Martin Concrete Company in Point Pleasant until the time of his death.