FSU Legend Mike Martin Dies at 79; Winningest Coach in NCAA Baseball History

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FSU Legend Mike Martin Dies at 79; Winningest Coach in NCAA Baseball History

TALLAHASSEE, FL - MARCH 9: Head Coach Mike Martin of the Florida State Seminoles gives a TV interview after the game against Virginia Tech on Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium on March 9, 2019 in Tallahassee, Florida. The #7 ranked Seminoles defeated the Hokies 5 to 2 to give Martin his 2000th career win. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)

Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

Former Florida State baseball coach Mike Martin died Thursday at the age of 79.

FSU Baseball @FSUBaseball

Today we mourn with the Martin family the passing of a wonderful husband, father, grandfather and baseball coach.

Rest in Peace, 11 pic.twitter.com/5cWLT3hcAj

“Mike Martin showed all of us that you can be an amazing father, grandfather, husband and friend while also being a world-class baseball coach,” Seminoles coach Link Jarrett said.

“Today, the world lost more than the winningest coach in college sports history, we lost a legendary human being that was a role model to all that he encountered.”

According to ESPN’s Andrea Adelson, Martin was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia three years ago. That was after he had retired from coaching at the end of the 2019 season.

The program legend walked away with 2,029 wins, the most ever by a coach in any college sport. Under his watch, the Seminoles became a powerhouse in the Metro Conference before moving to the ACC in 1992. They won 19 combined conference titles and reached the College World Series on 17 occasions.

An NCAA title remained out of reach for Martin, though. Florida State advanced to Omaha, Nebraska, in his final season but was eliminated in the second round of the CWS.

In a 2019 interview with Adelson, Martin said the absence of a national championship wasn’t something he dwelled on.

“If I ever said [I had bad luck] to myself, there might be a lot of voices saying, ‘You have a nice house. You have the most unbelievable wife a man could ask for. You have three healthy children. You have just about anything a man needs, and you’re griping about never winning a national championship?'” he said.

“How about the number of young men that came up to me at that celebration and hugged my neck and said, ‘I love you, 11?’ That’s a lot more important. That’s what I get out of coaching. Do I want to win it? Dadgum right. I wouldn’t work so dadgum hard. But I’m not going to say woe is me.”

Florida State named its baseball field in Martin’s honor in 2005 and commemorated his No. 11 jersey in 2021 while keeping it in circulation to ensure his legacy would live on. Martin was also enshrined in the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2019.

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