Quarterbacks at all playing levels from across the country share one phone number on their speed-dials.
Tom Martinez is busy fielding calls from quarterbacks who need help with their throwing mechanics as the football season progresses.
Among the group of 15-20 quarterbacks that regularly call Martinez are a couple of Serra High School graduates.
American River College freshman Andy McAlindon is one, and the signal-caller with the highest winning percentage in NFL history is the other.
A young Tom Brady in the early 1990s would tag along with his three older sisters as they’d attend coach Martinez’s softball hitting camps at the College of San Mateo. Brady signed up for the coach’s quarterbacking camp, and a 20-year mentoring relationship was born.
The three-time Super Bowl winning quarterback was “way off” as he faced the outset of the 2011 season.
Even the best in their chosen professions need some help now and then.
“He wasn’t hitting what he was throwing at to his satisfaction; he couldn’t control it,” said Martinez, 66, who flew from his Peninsula home to Boston over Labor Day weekend. “I was there for three days. We cleaned up what he was concerned with, and he followed it up with a 517-yard performance against Miami.”
The following week, Tom “Terrific” Brady threw for 423 yards against San Diego. Tom “Terrific” Martinez’s mission to New England was a success.
A San Francisco native, Martinez was an All-City quarterback at Polytechnic High in 1961 and went on to play football and baseball at San Francisco State, where he graduated in 1966.
He coached at S.F. State, as well as at Riordan, Jefferson and South San Francisco High Schools before landing at the College of San Mateo in 1975, where he remained until 2007.
At CSM, Martinez coached women’s basketball and soccer, as well as football, where he served as both head coach and offensive coordinator. He notched more than 1,400 victories in the three sports.
“As head coach, there was no player who played for me that ever had a losing season,” Martinez said.
When the inaugural College of San Mateo Hall of Fame class was inducted in a ceremony on campus on Sept. 30, Martinez was included with, among others, football legends John Madden and the late Bill Walsh.
“The school has been there for 90 years and you’re the first to go in, with Madden and Walsh, that’s not bad company,” Martinez said proudly. “That was quite an honor to be inducted with those guys.”
It’s the work with his quarterbacks that has kept Martinez going as he deals with the effects of three-times-a-week dialysis.
“It’s been a roller-coaster ride, and I’m staying on the train,” said Martinez, who is awaiting word from doctors at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Maryland to determine if they will perform a kidney transplant.
“I’d sign a three-year contract right now,” Martinez said with the spirit and confidence of a great coach.
With his most famous student back on track, Martinez is keeping busy fielding the calls from his high school and college quarterbacks.
“Once they’ve been coached by me they know the language that I speak,” Martinez said. “They tell me what they’re doing wrong.”
And the QB guru sets them straight.
WHO: Tom Martinez
WHAT: Quarterback coach and tutor whose most notable protege is New England Patriots QB Tom Brady
SCHOOLING: Was All-City quarterback at San Francisco’s Polytechnic High School in 1961; played football and baseball at San Francisco State
COACHING: Coaching stops included College of San Mateo and San Francisco State
HIGHLIGHTS: Inducted into CSM Hall of Fame in September. … While coaching women’s basketball, women’s soccer and football at CSM, Martinez compiled more than 1,400 combined wins.