If you were named as a Hall of Fame awardee for any organization in 2020, it was a given that inductions just couldn’t happen at an in-person event during a worldwide pandemic. But with event restrictions easing (hallelujah!), on June 2, 2021, Colorado State University Pueblo Athletics HOF inductee Joe Martinez, a scholar-athlete at CSU-Pueblo and then at CSU, finally was able to be honored for his achievement at a special celebration in his current hometown Fort Collins. Co-hosted by CSU and “CSU-P,” it was indeed a memorable occasion for all attending–not only for the camaraderie, but also as the first CSU-hosted event held since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sandy and Joe Martinez look over Joe’s high school and college yearbooks.

The afternoon had all the ingredients of a happy family reunion, with friends, family and former coaches and teammates chatting and swapping memories with honoree Martinez. After guests had the opportunity to enjoy antipasta and assorted desserts from Spectra Food Services–all boxed and wrapped per COVID-19 protocol–a short program highlighted the accomplishments of athlete-teacher-coach Martinez: on the football field as the first All-American at Pueblo Junior College (now CSU-Pueblo); on the fast-pitch softball diamond with national recognition; in the classroom as Poudre School District’s 1989 Teacher of the Year; and for his projects with migrant workers–the Martinez family are longtime supporters of human service organizations. Martinez also was presented with a multitude of official gifts to commemorate the occasion, along with mayoral “Joe Martinez Day” proclamations from the cities of Lamar (where he was a standout athlete at Lamar High School), Pueblo and Fort Collins. The Martinez family remain diehard CSU supporters and are part of a lively tailgate group.

The Joe Martinez family celebrates.

Those speaking to the crowd were: event organizer Tim Simmons, owner-operator of BFishish Inc., Southern Colorado State College alum (now CSU-Pueblo) and former Sports Information Director; Gary Ozzello, Director of University Relations, Canvas Credit Union; Joe Parker, CSU Director of Athletics, Sport Administrator: Football; Paul Pinske, CSU-Pueblo Director of Intercollegiate Athletics; Todd Kelly, CSU-Pueblo Foundation President/CEO; Tracy Samora, CSU-Pueblo Director, Dept. of Alumni & Community Relations; and Heidi Block, daughter of Martinez, with a thank-you on behalf of the family.

Paul Plinske presents Joe Martinez with his commemorative plaque from CSU-Pueblo Athletics Hall of Fame.

Martinez is also invited to head down I-25 this fall to attend the CSU Pueblo Athletics HOF Banquet honoring the entire Class of 2020 on Saturday, Oct. 23, during Homecoming weekend. In other words, Martinez merits two celebrations for his spectrum of accomplishments both on and off the football field, during his school days and beyond. For more information on the CSU Pueblo Athletics Hall of Fame, please visit https://gothunderwolves.com/news/2020/10/23/csu-pueblo-athletics-hall-of-fame-csu-pueblo-athletics-announces-hall-of-fame-class-of-2020.aspx .

Blacktie Colorado
Blacktie Colorado