— ATLANTA (AP) — Known as a master of his craft, longtime Associated Press photographer Dave Martin collapsed on the field of the Georgia Dome after taking one of his signature photos: the coach getting doused by his players.
The 59-year-old Martin suffered an apparent heart attack and died early Wednesday morning after working the sidelines at Texas A&M's 52-48 win over Duke in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. Friends and colleagues remembered Martin as a larger-than-life character who was always happy to share advice with fellow photographers who he often outshot.
Martin covered nearly every major news event in the South over the past 30 years — including Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf oil spill — and he traveled to sporting events around the world and to conflicts in Afghanistan, Haiti and Iraq. His award-winning visual storytelling was splashed across countless newspaper front pages and the covers of Sports Illustrated and other magazines.
At sporting events, he was well-known for always managing to get himself in the perfect position to take the shot of winning athletes dousing their coach with water or Gatorade. Done right, such images capture the flourish of airborne water caught in the stadium lights, but they require great timing and positioning.
Tuesday night's game was no exception — Martin perfectly showed Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin's startled but jubilant expression as he's splashed.
"Every photojournalist in the country knows the trademark Dave Martin picture was the coach being dunked," said AP South regional photo editor Mike Stewart, who first met Martin in 1989.
AP Vice President and Director of Photography Santiago Lyon said: "Dave Martin was an excellent photojournalist, a consummate and dedicated professional and a wonderful person. Wherever his work took him he made many friends and will be deeply missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him."