In 1980, Mike Martin won his first game as head coach of Florida State baseball. Today’s 3-2 win over Clemson in 13 innings earned win number 1,976 — passing the late Augie Garrido (San Francisco State, Cal Poly, Cal State Fullerton, Illinois, Texas) for the most wins in college baseball history.
Martin has been a member of the Seminoles’ baseball program for 46 years, first as a player (1965-66), when he participated in his first College World Series. In 1979, he became an assistant coach under Woody Woodward and Dick Howser, before securing the head coach role a year later.
His first season in charge, “Eleven” won 51 games and took the ’Noles to the College World Series, his first of many trips to Omaha. It was also the first of twelve straight 50-win seasons for Martin in Tallahassee. That streak ended in 1991, but FSU has still won 40+ games each season under Martin. And the team is eight wins away from making it 41 straight seasons — 39 of which have been under the tutelage of Martin. Siena College head coach Tony Rossi (1970) is the only active skipper with a longer tenure at one school.
Martin’s teams have played in the postseason every year, advancing to the College World Series 16 times. Unfortunately for Martin, the National Championship has eluded him—he came up just short in 1986 and 1999.
During his coaching tenure, there’s been plenty of talent to pass through Tallahassee and onto the professional ranks. Since Martin took over, FSU has had 206 selections in the MLB Draft. Nineteen of those selections came in the first round, including Paul Wilson, the first overall selection in 1994. Martin has coached four Golden Spikes winners, the award given to the best collegiate player, and a total of 91 All-Americans.
In 2005, Dick Howser Stadium was dedicated to the head coach (renamed Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium), and in 2007, he was inducted into the ABCA Hall of Fame.
With the wins record in place, there’s speculation the 74-year-old Martin will retire at the end of this season. If true, it’ll signal the end of an era at Florida State, an era that saw the Seminoles rise to the top of the NCAA baseball ranks and solidified the club as one of the best baseball programs in the country.