Florida State Promotes Mike Martin Jr. To Head Coach

Image credit: Florida State coach Mike Martin Jr. (Photo courtesy of Florida State Athletics)

After Florida State’s season came to an end Wednesday with a loss to Texas Tech in the College World Series, it wasted little time starting its search to replace Mike Martin as head coach, as he begins retirement after 40 years at the program’s helm. It also didn’t have to look too far to find a successor for the winningest coach in NCAA history.

On Friday, Florida State announced it had promoted Mike Martin Jr. from recruiting coordinator to head coach. Martin Jr. has spent the last 22 years on his father’s coaching staff and played for the Seminoles from 1993-95.

Florida State president John Thrasher said in a statement that he is confident Martin Jr. will continue the Seminoles’ winning tradition.

“For more than two decades as an assistant coach, he has shown he is a talented recruiter, passionate competitor and respected mentor to our student-athletes,” Thrasher said. “While Mike Martin Jr. brings his own strengths and style of coaching to the program, his values, integrity and love for this university will carry on the proud legacy of his father.”

Martin Jr., 46, has an impressive track record as a recruiter. Last fall, under his direction, the Seminoles brought in the No. 3 class in the country, their highest ranking ever. Florida State has landed five straight top-five classes and in back-to-back years have had the highest ranked recruiting class in the ACC.

Martin Jr. has also led Florida State’s offense, which consistently ranks as one of the best in the country. The Seminoles have combined to hit .300 since 1998, his first year as an assistant coach. He has coached 64 hitters who have been drafted, including All-American third baseman Drew Mendoza, who this year was a third-round pick.

Martin Jr. also famously recommended Buster Posey move from shortstop to catcher, a decision that has paid huge dividends for Posey, who is on a Hall of Fame trajectory as a catcher.

Martin Jr. said in a statement he is humbled to take over as head coach of his alma mater.

“It’s been a privilege to serve at this great University for the past 22 years, and I’m excited to extend FSU’s 70-year history of success moving forward,” he said. “After serving under one of the all-time greats, we will combine much of what was learned from him with our new staff’s style and ideas in our pursuit of championships.”

Florida State’s announcement brings a close to college baseball’s favorite parlor game in recent years: speculating about who would take over for Martin, the winningest coach in college sports history. This was always the most likely outcome and was Martin’s preference, but Florida State chose to run a true search after Martin last June announced he would coach one final season before retiring.

“I think it’s pretty easy to figure out who I want to be the next coach, but I will have no say in it,” Martin said in the offseason. “That’s the way it should be.”

In the end, Florida State stayed in the family and now Martin Jr. takes over the most consistent program in the country with the unenviable task of following his father, who is one of the game’s all-time great coaches. Florida State has won at least 40 games and made the NCAA Tournament for 42 straight seasons, including all 40 of Martin’s years at the helm. Martin took the Seminoles to the College World Series 17 times, including this year, though the program is still searching for its first national championship.

Martin Jr.’s task as head coach is three-fold. First, he must keep Florida State the consistent winner it has been for the last four decades. Second, he has to close the gap that has developed between Florida State and Florida, which has won 11 straight games against the Seminoles and 16 of the last 17 games. Third, and most importantly, he is now tasked with winning the first national championship in program history.

It won’t be easy for Martin Jr., but he is certainly prepared for the role. Aside from his father, no one knows as much about what it takes to win in Tallahassee and how to recruit to Florida State. Martin Jr. has been integral to Florida State’s success for the last 22 years. Now, he will be responsible for taking the Seminoles forward into a new era.

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