Back on December 1, 1979, shortly after being hired, Mike Martin told Bob Cohn of the Tallahassee Democrat he planned on remaining at his post longer than his predecessors.
“I have no intention of ever leaving Florida State.”
Fast forward forty years: March, 9, 2019.
The Seminoles’ victory over Virginia Tech gives Mike Martin his 2,000th career win in his farewell season. It’s an unprecedented feat by any coach, and it seems unlikely to ever happen again.
There has never been another coach in any NCAA sport to reach that milestone.
Classic Rewind: Celebrating 2,000 wins
Martin has been a member of the FSU baseball program for 46 years, starting 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 in 1980.
A season ago, the Seminoles reached the 40-win mark for the 41st consecutive season, by far the longest active streak in the country (the next closest school is Louisville, with seven). Furthermore, FSU reached the post season for the 41st straight year FSU, also the longest active streak in the country.
Martin’s place in college baseball history is already secure as he was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2007. In 2005, Dick Howser Stadium was dedicated to the head coach (renamed Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium).
He’s won conference coach of the year honors 13 times; six times in the Metro Conference and seven times in the ACC with the latest in 2012. In all, Martin’s Seminoles have earned 91 All-America and 125 All-ACC honors. Furthermore, he’s coached seven National Players of the Year – Mike Fuentes, Mike Loynd, J.D. Drew, Shane Robinson, Tony Thomas, Jr., Buster Posey, and James Ramsey, along with four Golden Spikes winners, the award given to the best collegiate player. The first was Mike Fuentes in 1981 and followed by, Mike Loynd, J.D. Drew and Buster Posey.
With Martin at the helm, FSU has had 214 selections in the MLB Draft. Nineteen of those selections came in the first round. In 2018, the Seminoles five picks over the first two days are Florida State’s most ever in the first 10 rounds, tied with the 1991 draft class.
On May 5th, 2018, Martin surpassed the legendary Augie Garrido (San Francisco State, Cal Poly, Cal State Fullerton, Illinois, Texas) for the most wins in college baseball history with 1,976. Martin sits atop all active NCAA Division 1 coaches with a .738 winning percentage, joining Texas (.72594) and Miami (.704) as the only schools to win over 70 percent of their games.
Before Martin arrived, the Seminoles had only reached the College World Series three times in the last 16 seasons, with “eleven” leading the ’Noles, Florida State reached the College World Series 16 times, the latest in 2017.
Martin was right. His intention was never to leave Florida State.
It’s just time.
Baseball will live on without Martin. And so will the kindness he showed the game. His relentless patience, his persistent success, and his enchanting joy. Baseball is better for it.
2,000 career victories sure flew by.