Dynamics beyond the sidelines
More Than a Game
Monday, April 11, 2005
By Ron Cherubini
ensure that Martinez' impact will endure
Former East Carolina
educator and national champion swimming
coach Dr. Ray H. Martinez, flanked by former
Pirate football star Jerry Tolley and wife
Joanie Tolley, who have underwritten an
annual teaching award in Martinez' name.
(Photo: Contributed by East Carolina
University College of Health & Human
When you talk to former
athletes from East Carolina University, sooner or later the name of Dr. Ray
H. Martinez will come up.
An educator and a coach at
East Carolina for years, Martinez had the ability to connect with
student-athletes and they loved him for it.
One of those student-athletes,
outstanding Stasavich-era wingback Jerry Tolley, wanted to ensure that Dr.
Martinez understood the impact he had on not only his life, but on all the
lives that the now-retired educator touched through East Carolina athletics.
Tolley and his wife Joanie
recently funded a mechanism that will provide for an annual Teaching
Excellence Award for the College of Health and Human Performance. The award
will be made in the name of Dr. Ray H. Martinez.
“What Jerry and Joanie did was
to set up an endowment over a five-year period,” said Department Director of
Development Greg Abeyounis . “It will be used to fund the Dr. Ray H.
Martinez College of Health and Human Performance Teaching Excellence Award.
"The faculty at the college
are extremely excited about the award and are very thrilled that the Tolleys
have that type of generosity. Of course, they are both educators, which
makes it that much more meaningful that they wanted to help other
The award will be given
annually at the Spring Faculty Assembly in the form of a $500 professional
development stipend to an outstanding faculty member who displays excellence
in academics and teaching as chosen by the Dr. Ray H. Martinez Awards
A plaque has been purchased
and hung within the college to recognize the annual winners of this
prestigious new award.
Martinez, who has retired and
lives in Greenville, was renowned for his love of and dedication to the
sport of swimming and for his teaching prowess, particularly in the area of
As East Carolina’s swim coach,
he coached the Pirates to the NAIA National Championship in 1957, the
school's first national team title in any sport.
Martinez was also actively
involved in the community, starting up The Greenville Swim Club with the
help of the swim coach from Rose High School in 1961.
“Dr. Martinez was very
excited, shocked and flattered about this award,” Abeyounis said. “He was
very humbled and he has told his colleagues that he hopes to be here every
year when the award is given out.”
The College of Health and
Human Performance consists of three academic units: Recreation & Leisure,
Health Education & Promotion and Exercise & Sports Science. The College has
a faculty of approximately 100 whose focus is to advance and disseminate
knowledge concerning maintenance and enhancement of health, physical
performance and quality of life.
Tolley and his wife were
looking for a different way to give back to the school and he felt that this
route would be perfect, given his affection for Martinez.
“Dr. Martinez was really a
favorite (educator) of Pirate athletes,” Tolley said. “We’re very excited
Abeyounis said that the
establishment of an endowment for a teaching excellence award is a creative
way to honor faculty members and the profession of teaching.
“Jerry and Jonie had been
thinking of a way to honor Dr. Martinez and the college in general,”
Abeyounis said. “They put a lot of thought into this and we are thrilled
Anyone interested in
contributing to this endowment or starting a similar endowment should
contact Greg Abeyounis, Director of Development for the College of Health
and Human Performance, at 252-328-4662 or email at
Moreover, anyone interested in
contributing to a number of ongoing, less-publicized endowments — like the
Clarence Stasavich or John Welborn endowments — should call Dennis Young,
Pirate Club Director, at 252-328-4540 or email him at
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02/23/2007 02:05:41 PM