July 9, 2020 - by

Celebrity Sightings: Mike Martin — Winningest Collegiate Coach Of All-Time

Mike Martin, the winningest collegiate coach of all-time – in any sport – was a head basketball coach before he was a head baseball coach. His love for the sport of basketball gave him a front row seat in Tully Gymnasium where he watched the great Dave Cowens become the No. 4 overall pick in the 1970 NBA Draft and cheered the Lawrence McCray, Ron King and Rowland Garrett-led Seminoles to the 1972 Final Four. Martin never misses a chance to watch the current Seminoles play in the Donald L. Tucker Center.

Martin was on hand at the Raider Gym at Northwest Florida State College on November 29, 2019 to watch his beloved Seminoles as they defeated No. 17 Tennessee, 60-57, in the semifinals of the Emerald Coast Classic. Florida State won the championship of the event with a 63-60 overtime win over Purdue the next night.

As we continue to celebrate Head Coach Leonard Hamilton and Florida State’s success in 2020, seminoles.com had the pleasure of visiting with Martin for #CelebritySightings – the Hottest Ticket in Tallahassee. It’s a series of interviews that showcase the celebrities who had a front row seats for the Seminoles’ magical run to the ACC Championship.

You were the head basketball coach at Tallahassee Community College before you were the baseball coach at Florida State. How did that help shape your coaching career?
Coaching basketball helped me realize the importance of teamwork, being trustworthy, and as a coach the importance of getting across to your players the value of an education.

What was it like to watch a big-time college basketball game in Tully Gymnasium on the Florida State campus?
Watching a basketball game in Tully gym in the 60s and 70s was quite a thrill! Many exciting games were played there from Artis Gilmore of Jacksonville University coming in and getting thumped to the young man from Virginia Tech hitting the 90-footer at the closing buzzer to beat us!

Do you fill out your own NCAA Tournament bracket and have you ever picked the winner?
Nobody fills out my bracket but me!! I’ve never picked a winner, but that time of the year is definitely one of the most exciting experiences I’ve ever had. I just wish I would’ve had a chance to fill mine out this year (2020) because I can assure you the Noles would’ve been not only in my Final Four, but we would have won it all!!!

Who is the greatest college basketball player you have ever seen play in person?
The greatest college player that I ever saw play in person was Pistol Pete (Maravich). Sad to say but I drove all the way, 123 miles east and then south, to watch this game in G’Ville. I’ve never seen an athlete receive such attention as he went through pregame warm-ups. If I’m not mistaken, he went for 40 that night and I’ll always remember that!!

What is your greatest memory of a game-ending finish in the NCAA Tournament?
I would have to say the shot that the Villanova guy (Kris Jenkins) made to beat Carolina just a few years back (2016) was a great memory. Of course the shot that Michael Jordan hit will be remembered but the clock didn’t go off with the ball in the air (1982 vs. Georgetown)!

Celebrity Sightings: Mike Martin — Winningest Collegiate Coach Of All-Time
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