11 days until kickoff: AA’s picture-a-day countdown


A picture that has everything: Two Air Force legends in their 1960s finest, painfully attempting to make a staged photo not look staged in the slightest:

(Air Force photo)

On the left is Ben Martin, who took over the Air Force program in 1958. In his first season, the Falcons’ fourth overall, he led Air Force to its only undefeated record and a berth in the Cotton Bowl, where his squad fought to a scoreless tie with TCU.

Martin, a Naval Academy grad, coached 20 years at Air Force. He would later work as a broadcaster with ABC Sports, then return to Colorado Springs for 16 more seasons, this time as a radio analyst.

Martin died in 2004 at age 83. His Air Force obituary offers more information about “the Father of Air Force football.”

Reading that roster alongside Martin is then-Capt. Jim Bowman, who coached the Falcons’ junior varsity squad in 1961. Bowman joined the academy as a physical education instructor in 1958 and served for almost a half-century, retiring in 2007 (key quote: “It’s time for me to go fishing”).

Bowman coached for 18 years at various levels and served as the school’s associate athletic director for recruiting support, helping bring in thousands of athletes in all of the academy’s sports programs. He and Martin entered the school’s Hall of Fame in 2009.


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