Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

December 25, 2012

Still calling it like he sees it

'Mellowed' Martin to receive award at AIT

ASHLAND — Dicky Martin has mellowed over the years, but that has never stopped him from speaking his mind.

The longtime voice of the Ashland Tomcats is never at a loss for words.

Well, almost never.

Martin was practically speechless after learning he had been named this year’s honoree for the Distinguished Tomcat Award at this week’s 58th annual Ashland Invitational Tournament. He will be honored before the AIT night session opener at 7 p.m. Thursday in James A. Anderson Gymnasium.

“I don’t know if it’s deserved, but it’s quite an honor,” he said. “It’s very humbling. This is probably at the top of the ladder. I’ve grown up a Tomcat.”

Martin had the microphone passed down to him from his father, the late Richard Martin in 1976. He has been doing Tomcat games ever since, covering 36 years and a lot of victories. His broadcasting partner, David “Dirk” Payne, has been with him nearly every step of the way. They are one of the longest-running broadcasting duos in the state.

Martin takes a certain amount of pride in being Ashland’s radio mouthpiece. But he said it also carries responsibility.

“I’m the voice of the Tomcats,” Martin said. “If we’re not playing well or if the other team is not playing well, I’m going to let the listeners know about it. I’m their eyes and ears.”

In Martin’s earlier days, his rants sometimes earned him a spot on the outside. He was once banned from the Boyd County Middle School gymnasium and even some of the Tomcats’ own fans have voiced their displeasure. But they still listen, often wearing headsets while sitting in the stands and watching the game. Controversy has followed him closely, but the fans stay tuned in to hear what he’s got to say about the Tomcats.

“I was taught well, no question,” Martin said. “My dad, I still think he was the best. I learned from him and (UK legend) Cawood Ledford, and I love to listen to (Reds broadcaster) Marty Brennaman. I think he’s the best one living.”

Martin may be patterned after those great broadcasters, but make no mistake, he’s one of a kind.

“I’ve mellowed a lot,” he said. “I’m kind of like a fan in a way, because if a guy misses a holding call or a walking call, whatever the case may be, the fan goes ‘Oooooooh!’ I just get to do it over the air.”

Martin lets his feelings be known about officials and referees and he’s had his share of run-ins with them. But he refuses to be muzzled and continues to tell it like he sees it — even if it is sometimes seen through maroon-colored glasses.

He is an unabashed fan of the Tomcats. But he doesn’t take it easy on them or their coaches if things are going bad.

“I’ve been called into the principal’s office, so to speak, on a couple of occasions,” Martin said. “They’ll say, ‘Why did you say this or why did you say that?’ I’d say, ‘Oh, I don’t know.’ They’d say, ‘Kind of watch what you say,’ and that’d be it.”

Martin says his radio partner, who won the Tomcat award last year, was much more deserving than him.

“There’s not too many men in this world that I love more than him, I tell you that,” Martin said. “I really didn’t realize how much I loved the guy until my dad was killed in that automobile accident. When he (Payne) found out about it, he thought it was me. That’s when he had a stroke. One day I lost my father and then I damn near lost Dirk.”

Martin and Payne have a good rapport on the radio and as lead officers in the Ashland Tomcat Booster Club. They do a lot for the community, under the guise of the boosters, that goes unnoticed.

“Dirk is for the kids and he’s been around a little longer than I have,” Martin said. “It would have been neat to do it together, but he deserves his own award. Everybody says, ‘You deserve one, too!’ Maybe, maybe not. When they decided to give it to me, I was still very surprised and very shocked.”

Martin’s broadcasting career has included every state basketball tournament since 1976. He’s been going to the State Tournament since his father took him in 1961 when the Tomcats won their last state championship. Martin was only 7 at the time.

His favorite sport, though, is football. He loves Friday nights at Putnam Stadium.

 “I never dreamed I’d be doing this for as long as I’ve done it,” Martin said. “But I love every second of it.”

MARK MAYNARD can be reached at mmaynard@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2648.

 

1
Text Only
Local Sports
  • 0724putnamwebshot.JPG Laying the foundation Workers are finishing the foundation for the locker room on the home side of Putnam Stadium on Tuesday. The Ashland Tomcats open the football season on Aug. 22 against Newport Catholic.

    July 23, 2014

  • Genuine throwback

    Todd Eastham is disproving the old cliche, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.”

    July 23, 2014

  • MARK MAYNARD: Looking for those who inspire

    Inspirtation, they say, comes from within. It is defined as an inspiring or animating action or influence.

    July 22, 2014

  • 0722KYPGA_152.jpg Jones tops Gillum in playoff at Eagle Trace

    Ashland senior golfer Logan Jones didn't shoot his average Monday.
    He didn't mind.
    His three-over par 75 and one-hole playoff win over Elliott County junior Ryan Gillum gave him the Boys Open division title in the Kentucky PGA Junior Tour stop at Morehead State University's Eagle Trace Golf Course.

    July 21, 2014 6 Photos

  • 102213_329a.jpg Raceland tabs Clark as new girls basketball coach

    Jason Clark has a reputation of being — to use his word — “passionate” on the Raceland volleyball sideline.
    He plans to bring that same approach as the Lady Rams’ new basketball coach.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0305region2_389.jpg Pass the Mayo: East sophomore PG, Lady Raiders preparing for winter run

    East Carter sophomore point guard Kristen Mayo has played basketball for as long as she can remember.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0718spinda.jpg Steelers super fan Spinda to be recognized in Florida

    Shawn Spinda doesn’t have to use speech to profess his passion for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
    All it takes is a quick glance for a person to get the picture.
    But to absorb the whole picture, you’ll need to clear your schedule.
    Spinda is one of several fanatics who will be recognized at the Sports Fans Conference in Orlando, Florida, which is set for Aug. 28-Sept. 1 at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. He is a “What a Fan” NFL Fan of the Year nominee.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0703rfLL0204.jpg Little League State Baseball: Ready to run

    Morehead 11- and 12-year-old All-Star baseball manager Toby Gardner collectively likened his team to a racehorse.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0717prokick1.jpg Prokicker.com camp Eleven Ashland Tomcat football players were part of the Ray Guy Prokicker.com camp at Huntington High. The high-profile camps are put on all over the country. Rick Sang, an Ashland native who befriended Guy 20 years ago, is the camp's founder.

    July 16, 2014

  • 0716fbpractice0105.jpg Four-down territory: Making summer football practice pit stops

    ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?
    The popular Monday night catchphrase filled my room on Tuesday morning as my new alarm sounded off at 7 a.m.

    July 16, 2014 5 Photos