Martin led Falcons from 1958 to 1977

Updated: July 25, 2004, 4:23 PM ET
Associated Press

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Ben Martin, football coach at the Air Force Academy from 1958-77, has died. He was 83.

Martin, who died Saturday, recently had a heart attack, Air Force assistant athletic director for media relations Troy Garnhart said Sunday.

"This is a real sad day for Falcon football," current coach Fisher DeBerry said in a statement on the team's Web site. "We enjoy a national prominence because of the foundation Ben Martin built."

A graduate of the Naval Academy, Martin replaced Buck Shaw as Air Force's coach. Despite scant talent and rarely scrimmaging to prevent injuries, Martin lead the team to the 1959 Cotton Bowl, where the team tied Texas Christian 0-0.

Under Martin, Air Force went 96-103-9 and also appeared in the 1963 Gator Bowl and 1970 Sugar Bowl.

After retiring from coaching, Martin became a television and radio commentator.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press