SEC pioneer Stephen Martin Sr. dies

NEW ORLEANS -- Tulane says former baseball player Stephen Martin Sr., the first black athlete to play any varsity sport in the Southeastern Conference, has died at age 66.

Martin, from the New Orleans area, was a center fielder who made his debut for Tulane against Spring Hill in the 1966 season opener. Tulane was 17-7 that season, its last as an SEC member.

Tulane athletic director Rick Dickson says Martin helped break down racial barriers in college sports, and that his appearance in a Tulane uniform was among the great moments in the university's history.

Tulane says Martin died Tuesday, but did not specify a cause of death.

Martin served in the U.S. Army and later became chief financial officer for Tuskegee University, retiring in 2012.

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