From Wadsworth Park’s playgrounds he came, his work ethic and jump shot admired by all.
He is as much the City of Syracuse as anyone who has played the game, no matter the sport. Marty Headd is blue-collar … Work, work and work some more until you can take pride in a job completed — whether it’s hardening his soft body as a kid or pushing a broom and gaining his college degree as an adult.
In between those years growing up on the corner of Geddes St. and Bellevue Ave. and now, at 56, Headd would write his name in basketball record books at Christian Brothers Academy and Syracuse University … and you can add Leicester, England, to that list.
A backcourt cog as CBA became the first city team to win three straight Section III Class A titles (1975-77), Headd averaged 17.7 ppg as a senior selected to the six-man first team New York State Sports Writers Association large school all-stars. A two-time all-CNY first-teamer, he combined with Hall of Famer Earl Belcher to form a dynamic 1-2 punch.
A grammar school coach said he’d never play high school ball. Yet he played four years (three as a starter) on SU teams that went 96-26 and played in three NCAA Tournaments. He scored 1,159 career points (10.9 ppg), averaging 12.1 his last three years, all prior to the 3-point shot.
Obviously, those numbers would have gone up because his outstanding jump shot was triggered by a quick release. He shot 53.8 percent from the field.
He began losing his hair as a teen, so he shaved his head bald as an Orange junior. That season, he made the all-conference tournament team and third team all-Big East. As a senior, he was second team all-Big East.
However, his senior year was bittersweet: Nail a 10-footer to beat Georgetown … Score 18 in your final home game, a 4-point win over Boston College … But in practice, a fractured wrist ends your college career.
A 9th-round pick (198th overall) of the New York Knicks in ‘81, Headd went on to score 30-plus-a-game playing pro ball in England. He returned home, coached JV hoops at CBA, and has enjoyed custodial work on the Hill for more than 30 years.
In 2006, he was inducted into CBA’s LaSallian Hall of Fame. In ‘08, he earned his Bachelor’s degree from SU’s College of Visual and Performing Arts.
And now, Marty Headd becomes a member of the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame, Class of 2015.