UNCGSpartans.com writer Rob Daniels will profile UNCG men's basketball season ticket holders each week leading up to the May 1 deadline to get a "Say Yes to Wes" bobblehead with a $50 deposit per ticket for 2012-13 season tickets. This week's feature is on Tom Martin.
Calling Tom Martin a UNCG season ticket holder is sort of like calling Warren Buffet an investor.
"I think every sport they've ever sold season tickets for, I've bought them," said Martin, a member of the university's first intercollegiate men's basketball team in the 1960s.
As a result, it won't be hard to spot Martin when Wes Miller's Spartans take the floor to open the 2012-13 season in the Greensboro Coliseum: front and center and courtside.
Martin, now retired after distinguished service as the city of Greensboro's planning director, reconnected with his alma mater as it was starting the ambitious advancement from NCAA Division III to Division I in the late 1980s. UNCG Hall of Famer Michael Fleming, for whom the on-campus gym is named, encouraged Martin to check out a game one day.
"From that point on, I became hooked and started following it," Martin said.
And in his case, following has often been a literal truth. He made trips with men's and women's basketball to Alaska. When the men made their first NCAA tournament appearance in 1996, Martin was there in Orlando, Fla. The same was true of San Diego in 2002. In all, he has seen the Spartans play in a dozen states other than North Carolina.
His service to the university includes administration of the highest profile sporting event on the UNCG campus, the 1997 and 1998 NCAA Division I women's soccer championships; membership in the Spartan Club from its inception and leadership of the organization as a member and chair of its board for several years; and de facto point man on several initiatives that have spurred the growth of athletics at the university.
As for the present, he compares the vibe generated by the Spartans' North Division title run this past season to other great moments in the program's history.
"My favorite memory of the recent past has to be how this team pulled together this year," he said. "They pulled together after they beat The Citadel on that miraculous shot. The most improbable win ever. Then they learned they could win, and they kept winning all these close games. That was the most exciting part."
In Martin's context as a fan, the single heart-pounding moment came in 2011, when Spartan swing man David Williams, aggressively chasing a loose ball as is his custom, nearly took out Martin.
"He was going into the rail behind me," the fan and former player recalled. "I was lucky to catch him."
Martin didn't have to be reminded of the early-bird season ticket deadline of May 1 this year. All renewing or first-time season-ticket buyers who place a deposit by that point will receive a Wes Miller bobblehead.
"In the Kyle Hines days and in the beginning with Scott Hartzell, that was exciting," Martin side. "This is the most excitement I've seen around our basketball program since those days. People who know of my involvement with UNCG want to talk to me about how positive things are now."
Don't forget, place your $50 per seat deposit by May 1 and receive a limited edition "Say Yes to Wes" bobblehead. Deposits can be placed by visiting OurGreensboroOurCoach.com or by contacting the Athletics Ticket Office at 336-334-3250.
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