There's no denying how illustrious the career of Mike Martin, head baseball coach of the Florida State baseball team has been. Martin, over his 37-year coaching career which has occurred entirely at FSU, has accumulated an immaculate 1,891 wins, the third-most by a college baseball coach in NCAA history and only two wins shy of No. 2 on that list, Gordie Gillespie.
Despite this exceptional number of wins which surely puts him squarely among the best coaches of all time, Martin's most impressive feat may be his consistency. Across his entire career, Martin has led his teams to at least 40 wins in each of his 36 completed seasons. He has managed his squads to 60+ wins in two seasons, 50+ in 22 more, and 40+ in the remaining 13 seasons. The season where he came closest to failing to attain 40 wins was in 2014 when he managed 43 wins, closely followed by 44 wins in 2015.
However, this year Martin finds himself in serious danger of not reaching the 40-win plateau for the first time in his illustrious career. At the end of the regular season, the Seminoles have only 34 wins, doomed by a 7-10 record away from home, a 6-8 record against teams from the state of Florida, and a miserable 1-5 record against rivals Miami and Florida. Additionally, Florida State had 5 games cancelled this year (a midweek game at Stetson and two games each vs. NC State and at Boston College), of which the 'Noles would likely have won 2 or 3 if not more.
Left in its 2016 season, Florida State has a minimum of five more games, three coming in the ACC Tournament with a possible fourth if the 'Noles win their pool and at least two in a double-elimination regional which FSU seems likely to host. Should Florida State take two or fewer games in this week's ACC Tournament, it would really put the Seminoles in a bind in their pursuit of 40 wins as they would either have to come through the loser's bracket in their regional which requires them to take four games or win the regional out of the winner's bracket and take at least one game of their ensuing super regional which would likely be on the road.
Taking a glance at FSU's recent postseason history does little to aid the argument that there is still a good chance for the Seminoles to reach the 40-win mark again. A season ago, Florida State did take seven games in the ACC and NCAA Tournaments which would be enough to narrowly attain 40 wins once again. That being said, FSU struggled mightily in the postseason in the years immediately before 2015. 2014 saw the 'Noles manage only two combined wins between the ACC and NCAA Tournaments while 2013 was only marginally better with a combined three postseason wins, showing that the postseason success of two of the last three years would not be enough to get Florida State to 40 wins.
Would failing to reach 40 wins this season tarnish Martin's legacy in Tallahassee? Surely not. However, losing such an awe-inspiring streak of consistency, especially in the twilight of his career, would put a disappointing note near the end of his exceptional tenure at Florida State.