Teaching young men about life is more important than winning or losing athletic competitions."
Marty Harrigan (1922 - 2005), Ernie's high school football coach, was born in Dalton, Massachusetts. A talented athlete in football, baseball, and hockey, he turned to a career in coaching after serving in the Marine Corps in World War II. Marty earned a Purple Heart during the battle of Iwo Jima in the South Pacific.
Marty attended Syracuse University where he received his bachelor's and master's degrees in education. He served the Elmira School District from 1949 to 1981 as a teacher, guidance counselor, coach, and principal. Marty coached football, wrestling, and baseball from 1949 to 1963, winning football league championships for Elmira Free Academy in 1955 and 1956.
Marty coached Ernie Davis throughout his high school career, and went to many games at Syracuse University after Ernie joined the Orangemen. They were very close, and shared a mutual respect. Marty once said, "I have five sons and I hope they all turn out to be the type of person Ernie was." Dedicated to building up his students and his community, Marty lived a life of service.