A Tribute to Tim Daniels and Stump Martin
“Good coaches teach you how to play the game. Great coaches teach you how to be a better person. Coach Daniels was a great coach,” says Baylor coach Phil Massey.
Prior to his coaching career, Daniels made his mark on the football community when he played for legendary coach John Majors at the University of Tennessee, lettering in 1979. After coaching as an assistant in Knoxville and at his alma mater in Massillon, Ohio, he joined Loudon High School as their head coach in 1994. Before Daniels arrived, Loudon went 4-36 in four seasons, with the last two seasons being 0-20. In his first year as head coach, Daniels led the team to the playoffs with a 5-5 record. “He expected you to give your all, but in return he gave his all in whatever he was doing,” friend and Red Bank Booster Club president Tim Ledbetter explains.
Daniels joined the Red Bank Lions as head coach in 2002 with the unenviable task of following in coach Tom Weathers’ footsteps. During his 10 seasons at Red Bank, Daniels led the team to the playoffs eight times. The Lions went undefeated in the regular season in 2006, 2007, and 2009 and won four region championships and one district title. More important than winning though, Daniels cared deeply for his staff, team, and students. “He cared about developing players and coaches on and off the field,” shares E.K. Slaughter, who coached with Daniels as the Lions’ offensive coordinator. “He had a huge influence in my life and coaching career. I am so very thankful to have had the opportunity to have Tim as a mentor, boss, and brother.”
“He was a big, big man with an even bigger heart. I affectionately called him the gentle giant when we were on the faculty together at Red Bank,” sports reporter Randy Smith says. “He was a tough disciplinarian, but he loved the kids deeply. I shared bus duty with him several times at Red Bank, and I miss those great conversations about Tennessee football with a Hardees’ biscuit and a cup of coffee. I never heard anyone say anything bad about Tim. I’m sure no one really had a reason to.”
In 2012, Daniels retired as Red Bank’s head coach and joined Phil Massey’s staff at Baylor as an assistant coach, while continuing to teach at Red Bank. “To our staff, he was not just a football coach but a loved and respected friend,” Massey says. “Coach Daniels will be sorely missed by all of us. He was truly dedicated to giving time and energy to our kids to help them push through all the challenges that life brings.”
“Coach D was an awesome coach and educator,” Ledbetter says. “He loved his players and students, and the impact he made on so many lives will be felt for generations.”
(above) first photo by Andy Mitchell
As a player, coach, and journalist, Stump Martin was truly a sports enthusiast. “If he was at a game, he was thrilled,” says Deb, Martin’s wife of 43 years. “As a player, he was a fierce competitor,” his brother Marshall explains. “As a coach, he was ahead of his time in his ability to motivate and in his creativity. He had 288 plays in eight different formations for my team – which was only an eighth grade football team! And lastly, as a journalist, Stump celebrated the game. He celebrated when an athlete grew in sports and grew as a person in God.”
Martin graduated from Rossville High School and then attended Carson-Newman College on a football and baseball scholarship. He was the director of Rossville Parks and Recreation for many years, and for the past six, he was the director of East Ridge Parks and Recreation. He was a sports writer for the Times Free Press for nearly 20 years, former ESPN radio host, and past editor of FNF Tennessee and Tennessee Football Magazine. He also managed to coach several baseball and football teams.
Martin developed quite a reputation in the community for his enthusiasm and his knowledge on local sports. “Stump knew everybody and always had insight,” East Ridge coach Tim James says. “If I had questions, I could always count on him. He was very instrumental in my life and coaching career.” Deb adds, “Stump had a knack for judging talent, and his advice helped several athletes get signed with DI universities.”
Perhaps his greatest impact on the community came from and continues to come from his local TV show, “Stump on Sports.” “It gives great exposure to high school football, airing live on Friday night after the games and re-airing on Saturday night,” James explains. Potter adds, “On his show, they go more in depth talking about the game and the kids than typical news shows can, and Stump’s enthusiasm was contagious.” “Stump made kids feel special,” Deb says. “He reached out to them, attended their games, interviewed them, and showed highlights of their games on TV. And the show is going to continue to do that. For Stump, it was all about the kids.”
Behind his success in promoting local football was his strong faith. “He had great faith,” friend and business partner Todd Agne recalls. “I had the privilege of witnessing that faith in action every year as we worked on the Jamboree together. Putting that event together could be difficult, but Stump had faith in God, in the event, and in us. He always believed in the comeback, no matter how difficult things got.” Martin was also the organizer behind the Tennessee Georgia All-Star Football Classic, an all-star game played in the summer between Southeast Tennessee high school players and their counterparts in Northwest Georgia. The game has been renamed the Stump Martin Memorial Senior Gridiron Showcase.
“Stump was always working to make things better,” Agne continues. “His legacy lives on as we implement ideas he was a part of creating. As long as we keep serving the schools, coaches, and players, his legacy continues.”