Former Pitt running back and NFL Hall of Famer Curtis Martin was honored by the Walter Camp Football Foundation on Monday as its Man of the Year for 2019. The award is given to current or former football players and coaches as well as others close to the game who have made an effort to serve their communities.
“We are thrilled to honor Curtis Martin as our Man of the Year,” Walter Camp Football Foundation president Mario Coppola said in a release. “In addition to his Hall of Fame playing career, Martin’s volunteer work and compassion for others truly embodies what our foundation stands for.”
Martin put together an illustrious career on the gridiron that saw him rush for 14,101 yards and 90 touchdowns over a period of 11 seasons in the NFL split between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets. His career rushing yardage ranks fifth all time in the league, and he got his start at Pitt, where he ran for 1,075 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior in 1993.
Since his retirement from the NFL in 2007, Martin has devoted a significant amount of time and effort to charity work and community service. Much of his work has been done through the Curtis Martin Job Foundation, which he founded during his playing career to provide assistance and support to single parents and low-income communities.
For his work with his foundation, Martin previously earned the Horizon Award from the Congressional Award Foundation as well as an honorary degree from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. The Pittsburgh native was also involved in a $14 million effort to revitalize an athletics park in the city's Homewood neighborhood.
Martin is the first Pitt alum to win Man of the Year honors from the Walter Camp Football Foundation, but a number of recent honorees should be familiar to those from the Pittsburgh area. Former Pittsburgh Steelers Jerome Bettis, Lynn Swann and Rocky Bleier were honored in 2014, 1996 and 1985, respectively. And last year’s Man of the Year was Mike Golic from ESPN’s Golic and Wingo show.