HALL OF FAME
WHITAKER BANK/KHSAA BOYS' SWEET 16: Garnis Martin to be honored Friday
March 19, 2014Bardstown High School
Martin to be honored Friday
Tuesday, March 18, 2014 at 10:42 pm
This year’s Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Boys’ Sweet 16 provides Bardstown basketball fans a chance to celebrate the program’s brilliant current stretch, as well as reflect upon its rich history.
Garnis Martin, the legendary football and track coach at the high school, will be inducted Friday in the Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches Court of Honor for his exploits during his 25-year run (1953-78) as the Tigers’ head coach.
His son, Thomas “Buddy” Martin, said it is rewarding to see his father rewarded for his hoops success, which was often overshadowed by his state championships in track and football.
“It kept him busy, to say the least,” he said, recalling growing up across the street when the Bardstown gym was being built in 1959. “I was right there beside him. That’s where the action was. … That was my playground.”
In those days, Garnis Martin never got a season off, coaching baseball as well as track, football and basketball, and for all intents and purposes was the
school’s athletic director before officially taking on those duties.
Garnis Martin won 11 district titles while coaching the basketball Tigers, and compiled a 225-179 record. His crowning achievements were guiding Bardstown to a pair of 5th Region championships. The Tigers’ Sweet 16 trip in 1969 broke a 20-year drought for the school, and Martin followed it up two years later with a strong group of athletes who also figured heavily on Bardstown’s state football (1970) and track (1970-71) champions during the same era.
After the 1971 Sweet 16 trip, it took the school 37 years before it got back again in 2008. With three state tournament trips in the past seven years, it’s a relative embarrassment of riches for Bardstown basketball.
Buddy Martin played for his father on the 1969 squad, which fell 76-59 to state runner-up Ohio County in the first round at Louisville’s Freedom Hall.
“I was lucky enough to play on that team,” he said. “I’m very proud to have been a part of it. … What a memory!”
Martin will accept the award on behalf of his father along with Jude Talbott, who was an assistant coach with Garnis Martin. The ceremony will take place between the afternoon session quarterfinal games Friday.
“It’s just nice to have him recognized this way,” said Joey Downs, who was a football assistant for Garnis Martin before taking over as head coach in 1989 following Martin’s 37-year reign as top Tiger. “He did it all. He’s touched us all along the way.”
There will be a reception at the Hyatt’s Patterson Ballroom from 10-11:30 a.m. Friday for the inductees, which is open to the public.
“Anybody that could make it, that’d be great,” Downs said, inviting former players and other old friends.