Among the five inductees in this year’s Liberty County Sports Hall of Fame is Sheriff J. Don Martin, selected under the at-large category.
Hall of Fame Chairman Craig Stafford said people might be surprised to know Martin played a major role in the community’s athletic program."From all accounts he was a very good football player at Bradwell," Stafford said. "But long before he was sheriff, he did a lot for the community. He coached little league sports and he even coached me in baseball when I was in fourth grade. He used to run the chain gang for the football games. But the most influential thing he did for athletics was he headed up the Harvey Overton Bradwell Booster Club in the late ’70s and early ’80s. He ran that for several years and they were responsible for building the baseball field at Bradwell. He had a lot to do with the construction of the concessions stands at Olvey Field. When he ran the club it was a big, thriving organization. They hosted cookouts, fundraisers and a lot of people where actively involved in it and Don was largely responsible for that. He was an outgoing, likeable and productive go-getter and a lot of people only know him as the sheriff."
As a football player, Martin lettered for three years and was the co-captain of the squad for two years. During his senior year, Martin earned an honorable mention to the All-State Team and made the All-Region Team. He was the leading tackler and second leading rusher as a fullback during his last season at BI.
He also played linebacker. the Atlanta Journal Constitution had nicknamed Martin "Chitlins" and considered him to be among the toughest linebackers and the hardest running back in the state.
Martin also lettered for two years in basketball and one year in track and baseball.
Martin went on to volunteer as a coach for the Liberty County Recreation Department, working youth baseball, football and basketball. He was credited as being instrumental for developing the senior sports programs in the county.
Martin also announced Tiger football games for three years and ran the chain crew for five years.
During his tenure as the booster club president he increased membership to more than 300 and organized efforts to expand the fieldhouse.
"Delano Little was a wide receiver and a kick return player at Bradwell," Stafford said. "He was very fast and he was a very bright guy who went on to play at Georgia Southern. There he played on two of the National Championship teams with Tracey Hamm in 1985 and 1986. Now he is a sportscaster for a news station in Charlotte, N.C."
Little attended Bradwell from 1978-1982. He was a member of the Beta Club and was the junior class president in 1981. He was senior class president and voted most likely to succeed by his classmates. He graduated with honors.
Little lettered in football for four year and was the MVP in 1981 and 1982. During his junior season he was selected to the Savannah Morning News’ All-Coastal Team and was an honorable mention to the Georgia high School All-Classification Team. Little also lettered in basketball, track and baseball.
He signed a scholarship to GSU where he played as a wide receiver. In his five years as an Eagle he caught passes for a total of 1,125 yards.
Little worked as a videotape operator at WTOC briefly before moving in front of the camera as a sportscaster at WJCL. He continues his anchoring career at WBTV.
The Hall of Fame banquet is set for 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 10, at Club Stewart on Fort Stewart. Buy tickets in advance from Gerald DeLoach. Call him at 876-2878 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets are $15.
Friday’s Courier will feature the biographies of inductees Gary Guyton, Cedric Dickerson and Ronnie Brett.