No father and son duo has accomplished more on the mat in collegiate-style wrestling than Mickey Martin and his father Wayne.
They were both state champions at Tulsa Central, multiple-time national champions at Oklahoma, and named Outstanding Wrestler at the NCAA Tournament.
Now, Mickey is set to join his father in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame this weekend in Stillwater as one of four Distinguished Members for the Class of 2014. Wayne, who became the first wrestler to win national titles at three different weight classes from 1934-36, was posthumously inducted to the NWHOF in 2008.
“It’s surely overwhelming,” said Mickey, who currently resides in Tulsa. “I dedicated a lot of years to the sport of wrestling as a competitor and as a coach — 40 some years altogether. The pinnacle of what you can achieve in my sport is to be inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.”
A three-time All-American, Mickey won back-to-back national titles in 1962-63 for the Sooners. He won the Outstanding Wrestler award at the NCAA Tournament in 1963. He and his father are still the only father and son pair to win NCAA titles and receive the Outstanding Wrestler award.
“I always thought that was something to be exceptionally proud of,” said Mickey, who went 42-6 at OU. “Of course, someone will come along some day and join that little group. But I’ve always thought of that as something extremely special, and it’s withstood some time. I was the most shocked individual in the entire arena when they announced my name as the Outstanding Wrestler. I couldn’t believe my ears.”
Mickey competed at OU during arguably the greatest era in Sooner wrestling history, when the program was led by hall of fame coaches Port Robertson and Tommy Evans.
In the four years Mickey attended OU, the team finished first, second, second, and first at the NCAA Tournament. He becomes the fifth Sooner from who competed from 1960-63 to enter the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
“Port was a teammate of my dad, and I used to get a lot of insight about my dad from Port,” Martin said. “Port was just such an influence on everyone he came into contact with. Tommy, he was mean in the sense that he could really put some hurt on you legally. It taught me a lot about pinning people. My motto when I was coaching was, ‘Pin with pain,’ and I learned all that from Tommy.”
Following his career at OU, Mickey spent seven years as an accountant before finding his way back to the mat.
“(Wrestling) was in my blood. I couldn’t get away from it,” Mickey said. “When I got my first coaching opportunity I had just been promoted to senior financial analyst. I got that promotion on Wednesday, and I got a call from the (Norman) superintendent of schools on Thursday saying Norman High School needed a wrestling coach. Friday I went in and resigned, went back to school and got my teaching credentials.
“I thought I was doomed to being an accountant the rest of my life. I really, really didn’t like it. It was just a blessing that I got that call from Norman High School. I sacrificed a huge cut in pay to become a coach, but I’ve never regretted it.”
Mickey retired from coaching in 2003 after a 30-year career that included winning NCAA Rookie Collegiate Coach of the Year at South Dakota State in 1976.