So we know that Florida State will have a new head baseball coach for the first time in 40 years after the 2019 season. We have already discussed the pros and cons of this decision made by the administration at FSU, now it is time we look at the prospective candidates to fill the vacancy. Check out this story stream for updates.
The first question to ask yourself is, “will there be a legitimate search for the next head coach?” Athletic Director Stan Wilcox stated that “We (FSU) will conduct a national search at the conclusion of the 2019 season.” Will Florida State hire a consulting firm to perform the search or will they keep it in house? If they do their due diligence and seek outside guidance for this hire, I believe it shows that they are truly looking for the best candidate and the success of Florida State Baseball is of great importance. If the athletic department conducts the search in-house and does not conduct a true nationwide search with multiple interviews of candidates outside the program it might indicate that the administration has only one candidate in its sights.
The son of legendary head coach Mike Martin is Mike Martin, Jr. Also known by the nickname “Meat”, Martin Jr. will return as an assistant for his 22nd season at Florida State. Over his two decades overseeing the offense, the Seminoles have, year in and year out, had one of the best and most potent offenses in the country. Martin, Jr. has also done a solid job of recruiting while at a disadvantage. It is no secret that Martin, Sr. has relinquished his recruiting duties over the past ten to fifteen years, which means the ’Noles have been recruiting largely without the help of their head coach, and yet Meat has still managed to get talent to campus.
Hiring Mike Martin, Jr. as the replacement has been treated as a long-held probability around the program, but is he really the front runner for the position? The fact that he was not named the “head coach in waiting” might cast some doubt on to that theory. If he is named coach there is no reason to think he cannot be successful in the position. While he does not have head coaching experience, he has had head coaching opportunities over the years, and it would be silly to think that he can’t handle the role. Florida State’s biggest rival (UF) courted him at one point in his career, and if he is not the choice for the Seminoles, he will have a head coach position somewhere else in the country.
If the Seminoles’ choice is the 47-year-old, it will be a solid hire, and a safe one at that. In a non-revenue sport that is successful every season, safe is what keeps an athletic director employed and focused on bigger priorities. The problem with safe is that it might not produce the results that fans want.
As discussed in previous articles the baseball program has a few issues with recruiting pitchers and upgrading facilities. Can a coach that has been with the team for 22 years generate enough excitement to mobilize donors? Martin, Jr. has done a good job of recruiting position players throughout his career at FSU but the ‘Noles have struggled to amass talented arms they can rely on late in the season. Can the younger Martin appropriately handle these situations and what does that mean for pitching coach Mike Bell, who hasn’t exactly set the world on fire as FSU’s pitching coach.
The Martin family has done so much for Florida State baseball over the past 40 years but I believe it is time to move on. The Seminoles need a younger, energetic personality that can not only coach but recruit high school athletes to play and alumni to donate and help revamp outdated facilities. The program has been stale for many years despite consistently winning 40 games a year and needs life brought back into it much in the same way that Willie Taggart has done with football before coaching his first official game. Certainly the floor for FSU under Mike Martin, Jr is higher than many other coaching prospects but it would seem the ceiling is also lower.
In upcoming articles we will preview what other coaches fit the profile of the ideal candidate at Florida State and what candidates are not a fit for the Seminoles.