ALUMNI PROFILE - Charley MartinFootball star's tenacity continues in his career
By Ken Storey
It was 1974, and the Virginia Tech football season was about to begin. In practice sessions and against opposing players the team members often looked for leadership from their co-captain, Charles W. "Charley" Martin.
At 6-foot-1 and 230 pounds, he was an impressive figure on the defensive line who was never satisfied unless he gave his best on every play. Strong, smart, quick, he was not somebody you'd want coming at you.
During that final season, his crushing tackles and hard playing style caught the eye of professional football scouts. The World Football League was in full gear and upon graduation with honors in May of 1975, Martin, a biology major, was offered the chance to play with the pros. While he was impressed with the offers, he brushed them aside.
"If I had been two inches taller, I think I may have tried it," he says. "The $27,000 a game offered made the decision a difficult one, but I decided to go on and get my education."
You see, growing up in Bristol, Tenn., Martin was one of the few children on the block who actually liked going to the dentist. His dentist was a friendly, kind, and sensitive man and Martin wanted to grow up to be just like him. So after college, as Martin puts it, "I decided I'd rather put teeth back in than knock them out."
So it was off to the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond for four more years of education, training, and practical dental experience. It was in the Richmond area that he decided to set up his practice which blossomed. Martin's gentle, friendly nature and innovative business hours won patients over, and his desire to be the best hadn't been left on the football field.
Over the years, Martin became fascinated with the work being done in the field of dental implants, permanent tooth replacements for those who would otherwise have dentures, bridges, or go without teeth. He completed an extensive training program to become skilled at the techniques of placing the implants and then creating the replacement tooth prostheses.
Ten years and hundreds of successful implant procedures later, Martin has made a name for himself as one of the leaders in this still emerging dental field.
Aside from work, Martin teaches Dale Carnegie classes to assist people in developing their public speaking skills. He also has taught dentistry on a part-time basis at the Medical College of Virginia and at Georgetown University.
Martin has also remained active with the Richmond chapter of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, serving as past president in 1982-83. Approximately 9,000 alumni reside in the Richmond area, he says, which gives the chapter a large, diverse group to work with.
"I think it's important to get involved with your alumni group to remember your roots -- the roots that helped you get started with your life. The comradery of being with fellow Hokies has been very nurturing for me."
Martin also enjoys returning to Blacksburg. "The campus has changed in many ways, but in others it has not -- like walking across the Drillfield on a spring day," he says. "The whole environment is one of which I am very proud."
Ken Storey is a freelance writer in Richmond
Virginia Tech Magazine Volume 12, Number 2 Fall 1990