Home Sports FSU HOF baseball coach Mike Martin dies at 79

FSU HOF baseball coach Mike Martin dies at 79

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FSU HOF baseball coach Mike Martin dies at 79

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Former Florida State coach Mike Martin, the winningest coach in college baseball history, died Thursday, three years after a diagnosis of Lewy body dementia. He was 79.

Martin spent 40 seasons at Florida State, going 2,029-736-4, before retiring after the 2019 season. He is not only the winningest coach in college baseball history but the winningest coaching in NCAA history.

During his tenure at Florida State, the Seminoles won 19 conference titles, made 40 NCAA tournament appearances and advanced to the College World Series 17 times. Despite all that success, a national championship eluded him — including his final season in 2019, when Florida State made a surprise run to Omaha but was eliminated after three games.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Mike Martin, an incredible man who had a profound impact on countless individuals throughout his amazing life,” said ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips in a statement. “There is no way to ever replace the man simply known as ’11’ — the winningest coach in NCAA baseball history, a Hall of Famer and a giant within the ACC and college athletics. For as decorated as he was for his accomplishments as a coach, I will always remember Mike’s passion and devotion to his players, his faith, and most importantly, his treasured family. Our thoughts and prayers will remain with his beloved wife Carol, his three children — Mike Jr., Mary Beth, and Melanie — and the entire Martin family.”

In an interview with ESPN in 2019, Martin reflected on the bad luck that seemed to follow him at the CWS. He said, “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?'” Martin 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.”

Martin, known as 11 for the uniform number he wore, is a member of the Florida Sports Hall of Fame, the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame (he was born in the state), and the Florida State Athletics Hall of Fame. The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association named its Coach of the Year trophy in his honor. His son, Mike Martin Jr., served as a longtime assistant under him, and succeeded him as baseball coach at Florida State. Martin Jr. was fired after three seasons.

Martin Sr. lived with Lewy body dementia for three years before his death.

The school plans to hold a public celebration of his life at Dick Howser Stadium, on the field that bears his name.

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