Mike Martin capped his 40-year head coaching career at Florida State in 2019 with his 40th NCAA Tournament appearance, his 40th winning season and his 17th College World Series appearance. Martin is the all-time winningest coach in NCAA history, for any sport, finishing his career with a 2,029-736-4 record.
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.
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). After his retirement in 2019, he was inducted into the Florida State Athletics Hall of Fame and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association named its Coach of the Year trophy in his honor.
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 was associated with Florida State for 47 of the program’s first 72 seasons.
At the time of his retirement, of the 4,046 baseball games played in FSU history, Martin had been involved in 3,153 of those in some capacity. Even more impressively, he’d been on the field or in the dugout for 2,313 of the Seminoles’ 2,929 victories through 2019.
Martin had 19 players selected in the first round of the MLB Draft and, as of May 2021, had 55 former players reach the Major Leagues.
Martin led Florida State to 24 50-win seasons and 19 conference championships (11 in the Metro and 8 in the Atlantic Coast). He was named conference coach of the year 13 times and 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.
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 the title on the line.
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 stressed the importance of developing true student-athletes. The Seminoles must first win and lose with class; a direct reflection on the man who led the program. In six seasons of presenting the ACC Sportsmanship Award, Martin’s Seminoles won the award twice. Academically, Florida State was a fixture among the top teams in the ACC for overall GPA. Florida State baseball student-athletes have been selected to the academic team of distinction 72 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.
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 improved an already strong Seminole baseball tradition with every season. Just when it seemed that the program could reach no higher plane, something bigger and better came 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 17 times, tied for the most of any coach in college baseball history.
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.
The winner of more games than the first seven FSU coaches combined, he has been an NCAA Tournament participant for 42 consecutive years, counting his last two seasons as an assistant. Martin pulled on the FSU uniform in Omaha for 19 of the program’s 23 trips as either a player, assistant or head coach.
Over the course of his career, he shared that wisdom with FSU’s 218 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 was named Florida State’s ninth head coach in June 2019 after 22 seasons as an assistant under his father.
|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 (40 years)||2,029-736-4||.734||163-50||506-237||155-90|
|Totals (47 years)||2,313-834-6||.735||180-57||506-237||167-103|