Sad news to report: the San Jose Mercury News reports that Tom Martinez, a longtime coach at the College of San Mateo in California who gained fame when one of his pupils – Tom Brady – became one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the NFL, died today.
It was his 66th birthday.
Martinez, who announced in June that he was given just weeks to live due to complications from diabetes, suffered a heart attack during kidney dialysis, reports the Mercury News. He was waiting for a kidney transplant.
Our Amalie Benjamin visited with Martinez and his wife just a few weeks ago.
He discussed undergoing treatments four days a week, which he called “invasive of your time,” but knew that the alternative was that he would die. Martinez and his wife Olivia, who gave up her job to care for him, also knew then that the dialysis machine and medications he was taking would only keep him alive for so long.
After coaching Brady from age 13 (they still talked every week, their relationship now familial, not just coach-pupil) as well as hundreds of other athletes at the College of San Mateo, Martinez said the same thing he told them was the same thing that kept him going day after day:
“I always preached as a coach that you never quit, that you battle to the end,’’ Martinez said. “And so I’ve brought that to my own life as it stands now, that I’m not going to give in. I have to keep fighting and at some point my body will probably say, this is it, enough’s enough.
“One thing that I believe is that there’s nothing stamped on your foot when you’re going to go. So you fight as long as it takes and as hard as it takes until it’s over.’’
Last night, Brady’s father, Tom, told Comcast Sports Net New England, “It’s a big loss but he’s been very, very, very sick. I’ve known him for 50 years. He was a terrific coach and terrific mentor to a lot of people.’’