2013 HOF – Marty Watts

Marty Watts was born in Tulsa Oklahoma to Martin Luther Watts and Doris Beecham Watts who in- grained all types’ of sports into him. He started playing football in his early teens through college. Marty spent two years at New Mexico Highlands Univer- sity where he played football as a wide receiver and was a kick off returner. Before playing at NM Highlands, Marty played football at Albuquerque Sandia High School and was voted to the All Albuquerque City Foot- ball Team in 1970 as all-purpose back and receiver. Later, Marty became a professional sales person and marketing rep for the last 35 years.

One day, while attending classes at UNM, he ran across John Irick Jr. Together, they worked on the Joe Skeen for Governor Campaign. Somewhere around Johnson Field he was approached by John and Ray Marrone. Life changed as he knew it. Ray asked if Marty would like to play Rugby? Marty’s response was “What’s Rugby”? After watching for a while he knew he wanted to play. Physical contact made Marty competitive. It was during practice he had no idea that blocking was not allowed. This did not set well with the other players. That was fall of 1974 and for 20 years Marty played wing/outside center and scrumhalf position for the Albuquerque Aardvarks Rugby Club, San Diego North County, and SF Rugby Club.

Many eventful road trips were taken that the old boys still talk about today. A memora- ble event was in 1979 in Denver when the Aardvarks played St. Louis in the National Quarter Finals. If the Aardvarks would have won they would have advanced to the Final Four. That same season Aardvarks beat the Denver Barbos and Houston Heathens two 1st Division clubs. Marty was a big part of that, one of our finest hours. He was also on the national 7s Championship team and also selected to represent the Rio Grande Rugby Football Union that played in Toronto Canada and went on to play an all-star team play- ing against two select teams from Arizona. This was the first Arizona Rio Grande select rugby match played between the two Rugby Unions.

While with the Vark’s he represented the Rio Grande Union, and the Eastern Rockies Union, in select side events, in Kansas City, Little Rock, Denver and Houston. Marty also represented San Diego County while playing for San Diego North County rugby club.

Marty’s rugby honors date back to the dark ages of rugby locally, as the one of the early President of the High Desert Classic (1976,/77,/78) and Second President of the Rio Grande Rugby Union (1975/76/77). He served on the Western USA Rugby committee for rules and tournament organization committees. Marty Rugby saga is about friends, foes who become friends, travel to faraway lands to share the bond of the sport, and the universality of the game. He is especially proud for the new generations of players en- tering high school and university programs; it is thrilling to see and share in the results of the work of others. He thanks each of you for the part you have played in his life: including his daughter Amy. You can now hear Marty talk rugby on his new ESPN Radio Sport talk show every Sat morning on ESPN 101.7 FM ( FM Sports Sat with Fred and Marty) 9am to 10 am.

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