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Jerry Martin, retired track and field coach, dies Monday

Jerry Martin coached high school track and field in Baltimore County for more than 30 years before retiring in 1999. But Martin loved the sport so much that he couldn't stay away. It's why, in recent years, he even began volunteering to help the growing Hereford track program.

Martin even went to the state track meet 11 days ago. But Martin, 66, died Monday, two days after having a heart attack.

He was known everywhere and respected as one of the area's best coaches. Trying to keep Martin still during a meet was next to impossible. He always was moving around, looking to help one of his athletes, always searching for a way to make someone better.

"I just talked to him at the state meet, and he actually made arrangements to coach some of our field events next year," Hereford co-coach Jason Bowman said. "All the coaches looked to him as a god, and he was a great mentor to all of us."

Martin won 32 championships overall at various levels as a coach. He began coaching at Dundalk in 1968, moving to Perry Hall four years later. Martin turned the Gators into a powerhouse both in Baltimore County and at the state level.

Other coaches turned to him for advice and respected him greatly for a number of reasons. Martin pushed his kids to do their best - even if that was second or third place. It wasn't about winning all the time, but getting the most out of their talents.

"He touched a lot of people, and not just because of coaching," said Martin's son, Brooks Martin, who lives in Bethesda. "He took pride in the success of those he helped coach."

Brooks Martin was one of the coach's five children. The funeral is set for Friday at Valley Presbyterian Church on West Joppa Road in Lutherville.

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