Mike Martin will cap a 40-year head coaching career at Florida State in 2019 after announcing in June the upcoming season will be his last leading the Seminoles. Martin became the all-time winningest coach in college baseball history in 2018 and takes a 1,987-713-4 record into the 2019 campaign.
Martin and the Seminoles won 43 games in 2017, the 41st consecutive season FSU has won at least 40 games, by far the longest active streak in the country (the next closest school is Louisville, with seven). FSU earned the No. 7 national seed in the NCAA Tournament, the 41st straight year FSU has reached the postseason, also the longest active streak in the country.
Martin passed the late Augie Garrido (1,975) for the wins record with a 3-2, 13-inning win at No. 9 Clemson on May 5, 2018. FSU would also beat the Tigers in the ACC Tournament semifinals en route to a second-consecutive (eighth overall) ACC Championship.
Along with the most wins in college baseball, Martin also has the best winning percentage among active head coaches, sporting a .736 win percentage to go along with 16 trips to the College World Series.
Martin, a man whose uniform number – 11 – is universally substituted among FSU faithful, is a member of the Florida Sports Hall of Fame (inducted 2005), the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame (2007) and his home-state North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame (2018). Including five years as Florida State’s first full-time assistant coach from 1975-79 and two years as a player from 1965-66, Martin has been associated with Florida State for 47 of the program’s 72 seasons.
Of the 3,981 baseball games played in FSU history, Martin has been involved in 3,088 of those in some capacity. Even more impressively, he’s been on the field or in the dugout for 2,271 of the Seminoles’ 2,887 all-time victories.
Despite losing 2017 All-American Tyler Holton on Opening Day, Martin and the 2018 Seminoles won a second-consecutive ACC Championship and earned the No. 7 national seed and hosted postseason baseball in Tallahassee for the 12th straight year. Catcher Cal Raleigh led FSU with a .326 batting average and was one of seven Seminoles taken in the 2018 MLB Draft, going 90th overall to the Seattle Mariners.
Sophomore Drew Parrish led the Seminoles on the mound, finishing with a 5-1 record and a 2.52 earned run average to earn first team All-ACC honors along with Raleigh. Parrish’s 128 strikeouts helped lead FSU to 635 on the season, the most in the country and seventh-most in school history.
FSU has won back-to-back ACC Championships, the first school since Wake Forest in 1998-99 to win consecutive ACC titles. Including a 2015 ACC Championship and an appearance in the 2016 ACC title game, the Seminoles have compiled a 15-1 record and played for the title each of the past four seasons.
The 2017 season was a return to Omaha for FSU, reaching the College World Series for the first time since 2012 behind nine MLB Draft picks, including shortstop Taylor Walls and third baseman Dylan Busby in the third round. The Seminoles beat Sam Houston State 19-0, the largest Super Regional victory in college baseball history, to reach the College World Series for the 22nd time in school history and 16th time under Martin.
The nine players taken in the MLB Draft were the most for FSU since 1995, when 10 Noles were selected. Holton was a first team All-American, while Busby and freshman Drew Mendoza were named to the College World Series All-Tournament Team.
DJ Stewart, the leader of the 2015 ACC Championship team, was drafted in the first round of the 2015 MLB Draft, taken 25th overall by the Baltimore Orioles. Stewart is the most recent of Martin’s 19 first round draft picks and made his MLB debut in September 2018.
In 2012, Martin led the Seminoles to the 50-win plateau for the 24th time in school history, while guiding FSU to its 15th College World Series appearance. In a season that started with many uncertainties (most notably on the mound), those questions were quickly answered under the first-year tutelage of pitching coach Mike Bell. Florida State ascended to the top of the rankings and stayed there for seven weeks as the Seminoles dominated play in the Atlantic Coast Conference finishing with a 24-6 record en route to a sixth-straight Atlantic Division title (finished with eight consecutive Atlantic Division titles between 2007-14). The 24 wins tied a league record for the most victories, a mark established by two other teams including Martin’s 2008 squad. One of those wins, a 6-1 victory over Miami on April 21, pushed Martin ahead of Bill Wilhelm as the ACC’s all-time wins leader for conference wins. The Seminoles went undefeated during NCAA Regional and Super Regional play posting wins over UAB, Samford and Stanford to earn a trip to Omaha, where they won two games to finish in the top four of the national polls for the first time since 2000. At the end of the year, Martin was recognized as Baseball America’s College Coach of the Year for the first time in his illustrious career.
With Martin at the helm since 1980, the Seminoles have won 19 conference championships with 11 from the Metro Conference and eight in the ACC. FSU has played in the conference title game in seven of the last 10 years.
Quite naturally, Martin’s accomplishments have been recognized, as he has claimed conference coach of the year honors 13 times; six times in the Metro Conference and seven times in the ACC with his latest coming in 2012. In all, Martin’s Seminoles have collected 135 All-ACC honors and 139 All-America honors, including 35 first team All-Americans. Furthermore, he has coached seven players – Mike Fuentes, Mike Loynd, J.D. Drew, Shane Robinson, Tony Thomas, Jr., Buster Posey and James Ramsey – who were named National Player of the Year.
Over the past three decades, Martin hasn’t only produced great players – he has developed a program that consistently turns out great teams. Florida State has the second-highest winning percentage of all-time (.72586), joining Texas (.72594) and Miami (.704) as the only school’s to win over 70 percent of their games. Furthermore, the Seminoles 2,887 wins over 71 seasons are the sixth-most all-time. The Seminoles are the youngest program among the Top 50 winningest Division I programs – Miami (74 seasons), Fresno State (90), UCLA (99), San Diego State (86), Wichita State (82) and Arkansas (96) are the only other schools in the Top 50 with fewer than 100 seasons played.
The five schools ahead of Florida State on the all-time wins list average over 134 seasons played.
Since the start of the 2000 season, Florida State has won more games (908) than any other program. Since 1990, no Division I school has more top 10 finishes, 50-plus win seasons or participated in more NCAA Regionals.
What Martin and the Seminoles have accomplished from 1990 to the present may rank as one of the great feats in college athletics. Beyond their staggering success in the regular season, the Seminoles have flourished in the postseason. From their 29 consecutive NCAA Regional appearances – 25 as the hosts – the Seminoles have finished their season at the College World Series 12 times. Since the NCAA instituted Super Regional play in 1999, FSU has reached the penultimate postseason round 16 times and played host at Dick Howser Stadium on 11 occasions.
The 2008 Seminoles snapped a seven-year drought between CWS appearances – the longest in Martin’s tenure – by rolling up a 54-14 record, which included an ACC-record 24-6 league mark. Led by consensus All-American and National Player of the Year Buster Posey, the Seminoles slugged their way back into the national spotlight. With five All-ACC players in the fold, FSU produced a nation-leading and ACC-record .355 batting average to go along with 103 home runs. Along the way the group delivered Martin his 1,500th career victory, fittingly in a 17-8 rout of Georgia Tech.
From 1990-1999, Florida State made seven CWS appearances, including a program-best stretch of three consecutive (1994-96). The ’99 Seminoles provided the capper. They came through the ACC schedule with a 22-2 mark – the best winning percentage in league history – which helped Martin land coach of the year honors. Marshall McDougall, who left the nation buzzing about FSU baseball when he slammed an NCAA-record six home runs in a single game at Maryland earlier in the season, helped the Noles roll through the Regional and Super Regional rounds at home. In Omaha, FSU rallied from a second-round loss to reach the title game by beating Stanford 14-11 in 13 innings. The dream season ended with a heart-breaking, 6-5 loss to Miami with a title on the line.
Beyond the 527 wins in the 10-year stretch, there were plenty of memories. Martin, who would post his 1,000th career victory in 1998 against Jacksonville, had a chance to coach his son – catcher Mike Martin, Jr., now in his 22nd season as an assistant for the Seminoles – for three seasons. He also filled out lineup cards with names like Paul Wilson, Doug Mientkiewicz, Jonathan Johnson and Eduardo Perez. The Seminoles joined the ACC in 1992, posting the league’s best record three times, while winning two tournament titles during the decade.
In short, Martin’s Seminoles of the 1990s raised the standard of excellence established under his direction throughout the 1980s. The Seminoles won nine Metro Conference Tournament titles and made three College World Series appearances between 1980 and 1989, thanks to the likes of Mike Fuentes, Jeff Ledbetter, Luis Alicea, Mike Loynd, Paul Sorrento and Richie Lewis.
Winning alone, however, does not define Martin’s brilliant career. The 2001 team got a first-hand reminder of that prior to a series at Stanford. Leaving the San Francisco airport, Martin and assistant Chip Baker, now the team’s Director of Operations, gained control of the team’s charter bus after the driver suffered a fatal heart attack, safely guiding the bus to the side of a busy freeway. Martin and Baker were presented with the university’s prestigious Westcott Award for their bravery in saving the lives of players and staff.
Throughout his career, Martin has stressed the importance of developing true student-athletes. The Seminoles must first win and lose with class; a direct reflection on the man who leads the program. In six seasons of presenting the ACC Sportsmanship Award, Martin’s Seminoles won the award twice. Academically, Florida State has been a fixture among the top teams in the ACC for overall GPA. Led by two-time ACC Baseball Scholar-Athlete of the Year James Ramsey, who joined Martin’s coaching staff prior to the 2019 season, the Seminoles placed a league-best and school record nine student-athletes on the 2012 All-ACC Academic Team. Gage Smith was then recognized as the ACC Scholar-Athlete of the Year in back-to-back years in 2013 and 2014 and over that two-year stretch Florida State led the ACC with a league-best 14 Seminoles named to the All-ACC Academic Team. In all, Florida State baseball student-athletes have been selected to the academic team of distinction 69 times since its 2006 inception, while leading the conference six times in 13 years. Five times the ACC Scholar-Athlete of the Year has been awarded to a Seminole with Buster Posey winning the award in its inaugural season in 2008 before Ramsey (2011-12) and Smith (2013-14) each won the league’s top academic honor twice.
Ramsey finished his senior campaign as the 2012 Capital One Baseball Academic All-America of the Year and was named a first team Academic All-American for the second straight year joining Greg Gromek as the only Seminoles to be named a two-time first team Academic All-America in program history. Adding to the academic accolades in 2008, Posey was named the CoSIDA Academic Player of the Year – the first of its kind for the FSU Baseball program. Smith, along with teammate DJ Stewart, garnered Academic All-America accolades in 2014, earning a spot on the second and third team, respectively.
There’s no question that the Seminoles’ outstanding character in the most difficult of times stems directly from their head coach. When Martin transferred to FSU from Wingate Junior College in 1965 to play centerfield for the Seminoles, it marked the beginning of a love affair that has never ended. His love for the game of baseball is matched only by the success he has had teaching it to aspiring players.
From the continuous facility upgrades to the coaching staff to the unmatched community support, Martin has improved an already strong Seminole baseball tradition with every season. Just when it seems that the program can reach no higher plane, something bigger and better comes along. When Martin took over in 1980, it was taboo to mention “Omaha” around the ball club. No one wanted to jinx an FSU team that had made it to the College World Series only three times in the previous 16 seasons. After taking the Seminoles to that hallowed ground in his very first year, Martin would eventually make Omaha not only a household word, but a second home to the Seminoles, leading the program there 16 times.
Martin began his career by whipping off 12 consecutive 50-win seasons. Interrupted by 49- and 46-win campaigns in 1992 and 1993, he followed with another streak of 50-plus wins in seven straight seasons from 1994 to 2000.
He began coaching junior high baseball and basketball, before taking over as the head basketball coach at Tallahassee Community College. Martin spent three seasons coaching basketball at nearby Godby High School before Woody Woodward was hired as FSU’s baseball coach in 1975. Martin joined the Seminoles’ staff and served as Woodward’s top assistant for four years, then added one more under Dick Howser.
In 1980, Martin’s head coaching dream came true and remains a thrill to this day. The winner of more games than the first seven FSU coaches combined, he has been an NCAA Tournament participant for 41 consecutive years, counting his last two seasons as an assistant. Martin has pulled on the FSU uniform in Omaha for 18 of the program’s 22 trips as either a player, assistant or head coach.
Over the course of his career he’s shared that wisdom with FSU’s 214 Major League Baseball draft picks, eight National Players of the Year and four Golden Spikes Award winners.
Martin’s passion for the game and working with young people makes him a popular public speaker throughout the Southeast. His involvement through the years with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes provides another avenue for reaching out to others.
In August 2017, Martin delivered the commencement address for Florida State’s summer graduates, the first time in his career he was so honored. In early 2018, Martin was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.
In 2004, Martin was honored by the two schools he attended as an undergraduate. Wingate University (then Wingate Junior College), where he spent two years before transferring to FSU, bestowed upon him the honor of Distinguished Alumnus. He was also presented the Bernard F. Sliger Award for Service, named after Florida State’s 11th president, which is the highest honor accorded by the Alumni Association. In January of 2015, the Martin Family, longtime supporters of Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare’s children’s center and newborn intensive care unit, were honored as the children’s playroom at TMH was named the “Mike Martin Family Playroom.”
A 1966 graduate of Florida State, Martin earned his Master’s degree in 1971. He and wife Carol have three children, Mary Beth, Melanie and Mike, Jr., who is entering his 22nd season as an assistant coach to his father, and four grandchildren. Mary Beth and husband Tom Buchanan are the parents of Martin’s grandchildren Hannah Elizabeth and Lexi. Mike, Jr. is the parent of Tyler and T.J.
|Totals as Player (2 years)||71-24-1||.745||8-5|
|1975 (Asst. Coach)||49-10||.831||3-2|
|1976 (Asst. Coach)||40-16||.714||1-2|
|1977 (Asst. Coach)||37-13||.740||4-1|
|1978 (Asst. Coach)||44-18||.710||9-4||0-2|
|1979 (Asst. Coach)||43-17-1||.713||4-2||0-2|
|Totals as Asst. Coach (5 years)||213-74-1||.741||17-7||4-8|
|Totals as HC (39 years)||1,987-713-4||.736||163-50||489-224||149-88|
|Totals (46 years)||2,271-811-6||.736||180-57||489-224||161-101|