The article below originally appeared on USAtoday.com and is being reprinted with permission.
Tom Brady Sr. fielded calls from potential kidney donors as recently as two days before the Tuesday death of Tom Martinez, the throwing mechanics coach known as “The Quarterback Whisperer” who fine-tuned New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s silky stroke the past 21 years.
Brady, a three-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback, had spread the word on Facebook and elsewhere about Martinez’s need for a new kidney as a result of complications from diabetes.
Brady Sr. said the response was overwhelming. Martinez, 67, estimated last month that 40 potential donors came forward because of the quarterback’s efforts.
Martinez was told last June he had a month to live, but he rebounded after doctors discovered a defective pacemaker was in part responsible for his decline.
“I referred two people within the last three days to the site for donors,” Brady Sr. said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “We’ve been getting calls for a long period of time since and we referred all these people to see if there were any compatible donors.
“So Tom Martinez hopefully will live on through some of these donors who stepped up because of his need and his cause. It’s amazing.
“He’s as big a man through his death as he was through his life.”
Brady texted Martinez to help tweak his mechanics following a sub-par outing in New England’s AFC Championship victory against Baltimore and Martinez said that night he considered Brady, “Like a son. We have a tremendous bond.”
The quarterback’s father said Martinez had completed compatibility tests last week and was hopeful of receiving a new kidney in the coming weeks. Martinez suffered a heart attack during dialysis treatment Tuesday, Martinez’s wife, Olivia told the San Mateo Daily Journal in an email.
Martinez, who mentored Brady since age 13, coached football, softball and women’s basketball at the College of San Mateo and posted 400 wins in football and 800 wins in softball across 32 years.
“Tommy will be forever indebted to Tom Martinez,” Brady Sr. said. “Without Tom Martinez, there would be no Tom Brady.
“Tommy really loved Tom — loved him as a friend, loved him as a mentor.”
Brady flew Martinez to Foxborough, Mass., to tweak his throwing stroke prior to New England’s season-opening 38-24 victory against Miami when Brady threw for a team-record 517 yards and four touchdowns.
“Every time we get together, there seems to be some magic,” Martinez said last month. “Tom is the Joe Montana of his generation. If you consider everything (140 career wins including postseason), Tom may be the greatest quarterback that ever played.
“I’m proud of our relationship.”
It grew exponentially from Brady’s tentative first start as a high school sophomore at Junipero Serra High shortly after the San Mateo native began working with Martinez.
“Tommy got stage fright before his first ever start,” Brady Sr. said. “Tommy said, ‘I have forgotten how to throw the ball.’
“We got in the car and went up to the College of San Mateo. And Tom came out of his coach’s office and spent three minutes with him and had Tommy fully confident in starting as a sophomore.
“Tom Martinez was always available for Tommy, anytime over the last 21 years.
“He was a special person in Tommy’s life.”
The 34-year-old quarterback posted a final thank you to his mentor on his Facebook page: “I am deeply saddened by the passing of my coach, mentor and friend,” the quarterback said. “Coach Martinez’s invaluable assistance and support will never be forgotten and will always have a lasting impact on my life.
“The time we spent together remains some of my fondest memories. His legacy of commitment, toughness and determination will live on forever.”