A good life: Former Weber State, NFL quarterback Jamie Martin enjoys coaching, playing in a band in Missouri
Weber State athletics
Editor's note: This is the fifth of an occasional series spotlighting former athletes with ties to the state of Utah.
It's pretty hot and awfully humid this time of year in the St. Louis suburb of Town and Country, Missouri, where sophomore Jack Martin is gearing up for the upcoming football season at Parkway West High.
He'll quarterback the junior varsity team and serve as a backup signal-caller for the varsity squad this year. But it appears the 16-year-old has the potential to develop into a solid QB someday.
After all, this kid inherited some great football-playing genes from his father — former Weber State star quarterback Jamie Martin, who spent 16 seasons in the National Football League. And young Jack, whose given name is Jackson, will also benefit from some excellent coaching from his dad, who now serves as the offensive coordinator on the Parkway West coaching staff.
Yes, coaching high school football is one way the 44-year-old Martin can give something back to the game that was so good to him for more than half of his life.
"He's a pretty good athlete," Martin said of his son, who Jamie started coaching when Jack was in the fifth grade and now stands 6 foot 1. "I don't know if it comes from me or my wife (Kelly). He's been around locker rooms ever since he was a little kid, and he's so serious about the game.
"It's been fun to watch him progress. He's handling everything well, and I think he's got a chance to be pretty good."
Well, his dad — a confident yet humble guy who, unlike many professional athletes, never had an oversized ego — was pretty darned good in his day, too.
Martin came to Weber State in 1988 following a stellar high school career in California, where he led his Arroyo Grande team to the California Interscholastic Federation championship.
The combination of Utah's friendly people, the natural beauty that the Beehive State has to offer, and the laid-back, low-pressure recruiting style of then-Weber State head coach Mike Price convinced the 6-foot-2, 205-pound teenage quarterback that this was where he wanted to spend his college career.
"I had taken trips to Pac-10 schools and other places, but those other schools were a lot more pushy," Martin said. "Coach Price told me, 'Take as many trips as you want. You've got a scholarship here if you want it.' And that was a big deal to me.
"Not only that, but when I took a trip out there, it was just so beautiful. I'm coming from California and the beach, and that was the first time I'd ever been in the snow and the mountains. I was ready to get away from home. Some people get homesick, but not me. I was ready to get out and experience something new, even as an 18-year-old.
"It was an awesome change for me. The people, the coaches, the kids I came in and played with, it was just a great situation all the way around. Coach Price was impressive, and his coaching staff — Mike Zimmer, Bob Petrino, Dave Arslanian — were all just good guys.
"Utah would put a lot of places to shame as far as its beauty, and the weather, it's just awesome for so many reasons," said Martin, who spent the offseason in Ogden for three or four years after beginning his NFL career but has lived in Missouri since 2001. "Leaving and then coming back, I appreciated the place even more."
Following the 1988 season, which Martin redshirted, Price left Weber State to take over as head coach at Washington State.
Arslanian soon took over the Wildcats' coaching reins and, with Martin running the show, what followed were some of the most impressive offensive fireworks in the history of Weber State's program.
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