Open Mic: Marteze Waller

Local Sports

From 2012 through 2015, Marteze Waller rushed for 3,108 yards. He is fourth all-time on Fresno State’e career list.

“The best part of being a Bulldog was basically just representing the valley,” says Waller. “Representing the valley. Putting on that jersey and giving it my all for all the people around. Because I know they want to see Fresno State do good. We tried our best.”

For Marteze Waller, his best was in 2014. He rushed for 1,368 yards with 11 touchdowns. He is the last Bulldog running back to have a 1,000-yard season, believe it or not.

It’s been more than three years since Waller last played at Fresno State. But he is still connected to the program; he attends almost every game, and he has been known to wear his Bulldog pride at his new job as a Fresno County correctional officer.

“Right after playing football, I was looking into something in the law enforcement field. And I saw this on the Fresno County page. And I thought, ‘oh, I maybe need to give this a try.’ So here I am now,” said Waller.

Marteze Waller was sworn in as a correctional officer in October. He said it was actually an ex-Fresno State football player who told him about the job, Chris Lewis. And Lewis’ brother, Donavon, was Waller’s roommate at Fresno State.

“Feels great. I love to help people,” said Waller, when asked about the feeling of knowing he is making our community safer. “I love to see people doing the right thing. I even, when I talk to the inmates, I give them words of encouragement to do better when they get out.”

“He’s fitting right in. He’s taking to it like a fish to water,” said Thomas Mendoza, a correctional sergeant with the training unit. (Waller) is a team player. He is committed. We see that day in, day out. He’s out here working with his fellow officers. Helping them. We love to get people that have been in sports. Athletes, they are in shape, they know how to break down a problem. We find that they work good with others…and they are natural leaders, too.”

Marteze Waller is based in downtown Fresno, at the county jail. He is a floor officer and works four 12-hour shifts per week. He says it is not intimidating to work with inmates. And he is fine with carrying a gun.

Said Waller, “I’m pretty used to firing a gun because where I’m from, I hunt a lot, fish and all that good stuff. So I grew up with it so it’s easy. It’s easy to me. It’s come easy.”

Waller is from Eatonton, Georgia, a small town about 75 miles east of Atlanta. It also happens to be 2,384 miles from Fresno, California, and Wallher could have easily returned home after his playing career ended.

But he says he likes it in Fresno.

“Fresno is a big city to me,” said Waller. “I’m from the south, which is pretty much smaller and just a lot of trees. So I just wanted to come and stay in California. And another thing, there are better opportunities out here.”

There are opportunities not just for Waller, but also for his two sons. Plus, staying in Fresno makes it easier to follow the Bulldogs.

“Oh, believe me, I’m proud of them,” he says with a smile. “I’m glad they beat Boise (for the Mountain West Championship) because me and Boise don’t get along.”

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