Ron and Terry Martinello are the first brothers to be simultaneously inducted into the Windsor/Essex County Sports Hall of Fame, and so we present them here as a pair. Star lacrosse players at the NCAA and professional levels, the Martinello brothers owe their athletic genes to their father Medo, himself an honoured member of the Hall of Fame. Siro Martinello, Ron and Terry’s late uncle, is also enshrined; it’s easy to see how the Hall of Fame’s permanent home might one day feature an entire wing dedicated to Clan Martinello.
Like their father and uncle, Ron and Terry Martinello were born and raised in Windsor and schooled at Assumption College. Both Martinello brothers were multi-sport stars for the Purple Raiders and integral parts of some of Father Cullen’s great hockey teams in the mid-1970s.
Ron, the older brother, accepted a full lacrosse scholarship to the University of Maryland after high school. He went on to star for the Terrapins and help his team to successive Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Championships. In both championship seasons, Martinello’s Maryland reached the NCAA Semifinals only to lose in heartbreaking fashion to John Hopkins University, a lacrosse powerhouse. An honourable mention All-American, Martinello established Maryland scoring records that stood for more than 20 years.
Outside of the field version of the game played in collegiate lacrosse, Martinello also excelled at “box” lacrosse. He played the indoor sport for both the Windsor Warlocks and AKO. With the latter, Martinello won multiple provincial league titles and the 1975 Canadian Championship. Later that same year, Martinello was selected to play with the Canadian national team at several international tournaments. He did do so again in 1982, when Canada defeated England for a bronze medal at the World Lacrosse Championships.
Terry Martinello graduated from Assumption in 1979, two years after his older brother. After high school, he too headed to the ACC, which was and is a hotbed of collegiate lacrosse. Unlike his brother’s, Terry’s journey took him to Tobacco Road in Chapel Hill, home of the University of North Carolina Tar Heels. At the time, UNC was in the process of assembling a club that would help Terry capture something his brother’s Maryland teams could not: an NCAA championship. After a heartbreaking loss to the Virginia Cavaliers in the 1981 NCAA final, the Heels were not to be denied in ’82, when they defeated John Hopkins to capture the national title.
Closer to home, Martinello was also a major contributor to the Windsor Warlocks junior program of the late 1970s. In 1976, he won a bronze medal at the Canadian Championships, held that year in Windsor. That same year, while playing for the Ontario Lacrosse Association’s Junior “A” Whitby Builders, Martinello was named MVP of a thrilling seven-game national championship series against the New Westminster Salmonbellies. The following year, Martinello earned a call up to the Canadian National Team, which took a silver medal at that summer’s World Lacrosse Championships.
The Martinello brothers both concluded their competitive lacrosse careers with the National Lacrosse League’s Detroit Turbos, with which the pair enjoyed three successful years and captured the 1991 NLL Championship.
Since retiring from competitive play, both Ron and Terry Martinello have remained actively involved in local lacrosse. The two lend an occasional coaching hand with the Windsor Clippers and help coach various teams within the Windsor Warlocks minor lacrosse system.
The Windsor/Essex County Sports Hall of Fame is certain that their uncle would be proud. There is no doubt that their father is immensely so.