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Martin Brothers: 2 Pro Athletes from Cherry Valley


We’ve checked the Super Bowl off for another year and are enjoying basketball season. For the Martin brothers from Cherry Valley, Arkansas, this was more than a pastime shift; it was a way of life supporting their children, a powerhouse sports team built at home.

Jeff and Wayne Martin grew up with all the sports but quickly developed an affinity for their own ballgame.

For Wayne, it was all things football.

For Jeff, it was all things basketball.

And they were pretty good at anything Cross County offered.

Both experienced much success as collegiate and professional athletes. Both Martin brothers graduated from Cross County High School in Cherry Valley and were drafted in 1989 within their respective leagues.

Celebrating the Success of Jeff Martin

Jeff was the younger brother. But, he carried his own on the court. Following high school, Jeff attended Murray State University on a full scholarship. He was the first player in the school’s history and the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) to be invited to participate in the U.S. Olympic trials.

While he did not make the team, his skills were impressive and earned him an All-American title, having his collegiate No. 15 retired. Martin still carries the all-time scorning lead title with 2,484 points for Murray State and all Kentucky Division I universities. He was a two-time Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year in his final two seasons. A 1988 article mentioning the excitement for the Murray State Racers 1989 season mentions several other awards Jeff received: leading active scorer in NCAA Division I, OVC Tournament MVP, and OVC Male Athlete of the Year.

Image used with permission from Murray State University.

The Los Angeles Clippers selected Jeff in the second round of the 1989 NBA draft. He played for one season with the Clippers and a short preseason stance with the Grand Rapid Hoops before moving to Europe and playing with several teams overseas through 1998. He returned to the States and played one year each with the Grand Rapid Hoops and Las Vegas Bandits and one final season with Montpelier through the International Basketball League.

Jeff was selected for the All-CBA (Continental Basketball Association) Second Team three times. Today, he lives near Houston with his wife and cheers on his son, Jeff Martin, Jr., who followed in his father’s footsteps to Murray State and on to Le Tourneau Univerity and coaches at Iona College in New York.

Learn More about Jeff Martin’s Basketball Stats and his two seasons with the NBA.

Celebrating the Success of Wayne Martin

After graduating high school, Wayne Martin headed up the hill. Yes, that one. Wayne was a Razorback and a fierce one at that. He still holds a first ranking for sacks and a high ranking for TFL (Tackles for Loss) during his career, where he was selected for the first-team All-Conference in 1988. That same year, he anchored a defensive line that helped win the 1988 Southwest Conference Championship.

Razorbacks love creating champions, and he took that spirit with him to the 1989 NFL draft, where the New Orleans Saints selected him in the first draft round. Many called him an Ironman. In 11 seasons, he only missed one game and started 144 games straight.

Wayne was drafted in the same round as football legends Troy Aikman, Barry Sanders, Derrick Thomas, Deion Sanders and Steve Atwater.

Wayne was a force, pulling 82.5 career quarterback sacks, a record still in the top 5 of all Saints alums. He was nominated for the 1992 Defensive Player of the Year and was a 1994 Pro Bowler. Martin wore No. 93 and was inducted into the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame in 2003 alongside teammate Jim Dombrowski.

As a professional athlete, Wayne was marked by his charitable giving, establishing transitional housing and supporting single mothers. Today, Wayne is back in Arkansas, close to family and caring for his mother.

Learn more about Wayne Martin’s NFL stats and career accolades with the New Orleans Saints.

Special thanks to the Athletic communications department at Murray State University for their help collecting images for this story. 

One of our followers suggested this story topic. We love getting feedback and hearing new Arkansas ideas from you, our readers. Let us know if you have an idea for a story or Arkansas fact to chase down. You can submit ideas at any time. 

Cover image used with permission.

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Keisha (Pittman) McKinney lives in Northwest Arkansas with her chicken man and break-dancing son. Keisha is passionate about connecting people and building community, seeking solutions to the everyday big and small things, and encouraging others through the mundane, hard, and typical that life often brings. She put her communications background to work as a former Non-profit Executive Director, college recruiter and fundraiser, small business trainer, and Digital Media Director at a large church in Northwest Arkansas. Now, she is using those experiences through McKinney Media Solutions and her blog @bigpittstop, which includes daily adventures, cooking escapades, #bigsisterchats, the social justice cases on her heart, and all that she is learning as a #boymom! Keisha loves to feed birds, read the stack on her nightstand, do dollar store crafts, cook recipes from her Pinterest boards, and chase everyday adventures on her Arkansas bucket list.

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