Derrick Martin has accomplished many things in his life. From playing college football, to playing in the NFL, to starting his own charitable foundation, Martin has worked hard to achieve the goals he has set for himself. In August of 2016, Martin added college graduate to his list of accomplishments, completing his bachelor of arts degree in Social Science with a minor in African American and Diaspora Studies from the University of Wyoming.
“It was important for me and my family to finish my degree at Wyoming,” said Martin. “I wanted to complete what I started here at Wyoming.”
Martin moved his family back to Laramie in the summer of 2015, so that he could focus on completion of his bachelor’s degree after concluding a very successful NFL career that included him being part of two Super Bowl Championship teams with the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants. He also began a career in the real estate business while in Laramie -- a career that he is continuing now that he has returned to his hometown of Denver, Colo.
Martin first came to the University of Wyoming as a freshman in 2003. He was recruited to play football for the Wyoming Cowboys by head coach Joe Glenn and his coaching staff. Martin had been an outstanding high school player at Thomas Jefferson High School in Denver, Colo., where he earned All-Colorado and All-State Class 5A honors from The Denver Post his senior season. Martin was named the Most Valuable Player of the Denver Prep 5A league as a senior. A team captain, he was an outstanding quarterback and defensive back at T.J. His senior season, he helped lead the Spartans to a 10-3 record and the 2002 state semifinals. In four years on the T.J. football team, he helped T.J. compile a 38-10 record and win four City Championships. Martin achieved honor roll status all four years of high school. He was named a Mayor’s Mile High Academic Scholar, and earned Renaissance Academic Scholar honors two years.
As a Wyoming Cowboy he became an immediate contributor as a defensive back his freshman season, He scored his first touchdown for Wyoming in the 2003 season opener against Montana State, recovering a blocked punt and running it into the end zone for the score.
He played in seven games for UW as a true freshman. His freshman season was disrupted when he broke his left hand in the second game of the season at Oklahoma State. But he came back to play in the final five games of the season, starting four.
His sophomore season, Martin began to make his mark as one of the Mountain West Conference’s best defensive backs. He earned Second Team All-Conference honors as a sophomore, and helped lead the Wyoming Cowboys to a home win over SEC member Ole Miss. The Cowboys’ made their first-ever appearance in the Las Vegas Bowl in 2004, and defeated a heavily-favored UCLA team by a score of 24-21.
Martin says he still has great memories of his time at Wyoming. “The win over Ole Miss in Laramie is one of my favorite games. I can remember there was a pass play from Jovon Bouknight to Josh Barge in that game that was selected a national play of the week. It was a big game for the program, beating an SEC team.
“And then of course the Las Vegas Bowl -- that was a great memory. Not many people believed we could beat UCLA, but we believed we could and we did. I can remember our fans coming on the field afterward. It was a great night to be a Cowboy.”
At the end of Martin’s junior season of 2005, he made the decision to enter the NFL Draft. His decision paid off as he was selected by the Baltimore Ravens as the 39th pick in the sixth round of the 2006 NFL Draft.
“Getting drafted by Baltimore after deciding to come out early was a great feeling,” said Martin. “To play with that team and learn from a number of great defensive players like Ed Reed, Chris McAlister and Ray Lewis was one of the greatest experiences of my career.”
Martin would go on to play for five different teams over eight seasons in the NFL. After three seasons playing with the Ravens, he played two years with the Green Bay Packers and one year with the New York Giants. He also spent time with the New England Patriots and Chicago Bears.
During his time in the NFL, Martin was part of a Super Bowl championship season with the Green Bay Packers in 2010. The Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers by a score of 31-25. The next season as a member of the New York Giants, Martin was part of a second Super Bowl Championship as the Giants defeated New England 21-17.
“Winning two Super Bowl rings will be something I will never forget,” said Martin. “I was on injured reserve the year we won it at Green Bay, but the next year with the Giants it felt good to get back on the field and contribute to that championship.”
While playing in the NFL, Martin formed the Derrick Martin Foundaton (DMF). According to the foundation’s website: The Derrick Martin Foundation (DMF) started as a way for Derrick Martin to give back to Underprivileged children in single parent homes through sports. It was a combination of seasonal sports camps that brought children to high schools to practice, train and engage with their favorite NFL players and coaches.
Today, DMF has transformed into a multi-dimensional set of programs that still holds the core of the services above for the community of children that it was created for, but DMF also has formed an integrative free enterprise entrepreneurial component that focuses around green technology and development. DMF is housed on a 38-acre farm titled Two Rings Ranch that is under development for miniature green enterprises for the youth to develop. In the children’s visit to Two Rings Ranch they will not only participate in sports camps but they will learn the art of gardening, animal caregiving, Earth home development, etc. DMF has a full curriculum that can be altered and tailor made for any age range and culture from which the child originates.
In addition to his foundation work, another thing keeping Martin busy these days is serving as head coach of his high school alma mater, Thomas Jefferson High School. Martin was hired as T.J.’s head coach back in March 2016. He has led the Spartans to a 5-1 start this season.
“I had always thought about coaching, and to get the opportunity to coach back at T.J. made it an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” said Martin. “I’m really enjoying teaching these young men about the game and sharing what I’ve learned from the coaches and guys I played with.”
On top of coaching and his foundation, Martin is continuing his real estate career in Denver. While he is involved mostly in the residential side of the business at this time, he hopes to get involved in commercial real estate and the entrepreneurial spirit that he is trying to instill in young people who participate in the Derrick Martin Foundation is also alive in him. He has a desire to develop a relocation service focused on helping professional athletes moving from city to city.
Over the past decade, Martin has also taken the time to start a family. He and his wife Alexa, have four children: eight-year old son DJ; seven-year old daughter Harlow; five-year old son Dash; and 18-month old daughter Ellis.
From the time his college career began in the fall of 2003 through today, Martin has never avoided a challenge. He has sought them out. Now with his college degree in hand, Martin will have many new challenges and opportunities to pursue. No doubt with his track record of accomplishing just about any goal he has ever pursued, we can’t wait to see what Martin sets his mind to achieving next.