Ingle Martin has been an important part of the local football scene for four decades. That might seem like a small problem until you consider that Martin is only 40 years old.
Making the math even more difficult is that football was not Martin's favorite sport at all when he began his athletic career at Montgomery Bell Academy.
"It's crazy to think about the journey football has taken me on," Martin said. "As a child, football was probably not the most favorite sport. I was passionate about many other things. "Football really chose me."
Martin went from basketball, football and baseball to Parade and SuperPrep football, racking up more than 2,000 passes and runs in his high school career. He became one of the greatest and most accomplished high school quarterbacks to ever play in Nashville, and his football career led to him being named to the Tennessee All-Decade Team from 2000-09.
"I was fortunate enough to have a couple of guys (former MBA football coach Ricky Bowers and assistant Jamie Redmond) who knew enough to tell me, 'Football is probably what's going to end up paying for your college,'" he said. "I was 15 and they sat me down and said, 'You might be really good at basketball and everything, but you're probably going to be special at football.'
Martin's four decades in football include being on the 1998 and 1999 IBA state championship teams and the 1999 Mr. Football II AA. Football in 2000, when he led the Big Red to another state title en route to becoming a potential four-star SEC Championship contender at Florida.
He started the first half of the 2003 season before getting injured and transferring to Furman, where he posted a school-record 5,751 yards and 42 touchdowns over two seasons.
He was then selected by the Green Packers in the fifth round of the 2006 NFL Draft and was a member of three other NFL teams before 2009, including the Tennessee Titans (2007–08).
2010 and 2020 were highlighted when Martin became an assistant coach at Ensworth in Bowers State in 2010 and then head coach at Christ Presbyterian Academy in 2011. He led CPA to state championships in 2014, 2018 and 2020, finishing second. year, including 2022.
"Wow, four decades makes me feel a little old," Martin said. “But what Coach Bowers and Redmond told me at the time was definitely a blessing. It's clear that God has things planned for me that I didn't know about, and it's been an amazing journey."
Martin admits his football streak probably would have ended had he not transferred to Furman. It was there, as he led the Paladins to a two-year 21-6 record and the quarterfinals of the FCS (then Division I-AA) playoffs in both seasons, that his passion for the sport was rekindled.
“My two years at Furman really taught me everything I needed to in terms of life balance,” Martin said. “Furman was a community very much like MBA: just good people from all walks of life. Academics were very important at Furman and it was a formative time for me and I look back and realize I probably wouldn't be coaching if it wasn't for those two years.
Contact Mike Organ at 615-259-8021 or tweet @MikeOrganWriter.
This article originally appeared in the Nashville Tennessean: Why Ingle Martin chose football when it was his least favorite sport.