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FSU Baseball Coaching Search: Who should replace Mike Martin Jr.?

Hot board season.

NCAA BASEBALL: JUN 04 Tallahassee Regional - Florida St v Tennessee Tech Photo by Logan Stanford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

On Friday, news broke that the Florida State Seminoles athletic department was parting way with head baseball coach Mike Martin Jr. (“Meat”), who accumulated a 77–54 record with the Seminoles while failing to take the team out of the regional stage in two postseason appearances.

With Florida State still in the beginning stages of a coaching search, Tomahawk Nation will present some early names to know and tell you why or why not they might work as the next FSU head coach.

Link Jarrett

  • Current Position: Head Coach at Notre Dame
  • Contract details: Through 2026, financials unknown

The Resume:

The former Seminole (and college roommate of Martin Jr.) is on the top of every list for FSU’s next head coach. Jarrett is currently in his third season as the Fighting Irish head coach and has his team in the super regionals for the second straight year. He was the ACC and D1 coach of the year in 2021, his second season at the helm for Notre Dame.

From Notre Dame’s site:

In his second season with the Irish in 2021, Notre Dame had one of its best seasons in almost 20 years, ending up just one game away from their third ever College World Series berth.

Jarrett guided the Irish to their best ever finish since joining the ACC and won their first ACC regular season title in program history. They led the league with 10 conference series wins, including three sweeps, and finished the year with 25 conference wins, four wins more than the second-place team in the league. It tied for the most conference wins in a single season in program history. The Irish also had 25 conference wins in the 1990 season when they were in the Mid-Western Collegiate Conference.

The Irish were a model of consistency under Jarrett in 2021, ending the regular season with the best fielding percentage in the country with just 21 errors in 39 games (0.986). The Irish also did not lose back-to-back games all season and have not lost back to back games under coach Jarrett’s tenure (60 games). Following the regular season Jarrett was named ACC Coach of the Year, the first Irish coach to earn Coach of the Year honors since Paul Mainieri in 2001. It is Jarrett’s third-conference Coach of the Year honor of his career.

At UNC Greensboro: The 2018 season was one of the most successful regular seasons in UNCG program history. The Spartans captured their second-ever Southern Conference Regular Season Championship after going 18-3 in conference play. Overall, the Spartans finished 39-15, marking three straight seasons with 36 or more wins for the first time in program history. The Spartan offense led the SoCon in team batting average (.326) and triples (30) for the third-consecutive season. UNCG’s pitching was a key component in the 2018 team’s success, earning a 4.17 team ERA — the lowest team ERA since 2004 — and set records with strikeouts (529), opponent batting average (.254) and saves (22).

Why Link Jarrett will be the next head coach at FSU

The Florida State connection. Jarrett was an All-American at FSU his junior and senior year. He was part of three College World Series squads and was an assistant on the Seminole staff in 2003. Jarrett was born in Tallahassee, before attending Florida High (in Tallahassee), and still has family around town. Athletic director Michael Alford will want to make a big splash for his first revenue sports hire and will spend the money to land Jarrett.

Why Link Jarrett will not be the next head coach at FSU

There may not be a hotter name in college baseball. At the time of this writing, Notre Dame is one game away from knocking out the top-seeded Tennessee Volunteers. The suitors will be lined up for Jarrett, and FSU might not be able to compete with the money and facilities from some of the other bigger names.

James Ramsey

  • Current Position: Associate Head Coach/Recruiting coordinator at Georgia Tech
  • Contract details: Through 2025, $175,000

The Resume:

The former Seminole and ACC Player of the Year is on the fast track in the coaching circuit. He helped guide the Yellow Jackets to top-5 in batting average, hits, home runs, runs, scoring, and slugging percentage. He also helped Tech sign three straight top-20 recruiting classes, including two in the top-10.

From Georgia Tech’s site:

In just Ramsey’s first year at the helm of the Yellow Jackets’ hitters, Georgia Tech led the ACC in hitting (.297) and finished second in run production (464), hits (702), slugging (.462), and finished third in home runs (418) and walks (356). Tech blasted back on the national scene in 2019, winning 43 games, a program-record 10-straight series and nine-straight Atlantic Coast Conference series, and capped it by being named the No. 3 National Seed and the host of the 2019 NCAA Atlanta Regional. Under Ramsey’s tutelage, consensus all-American Tristin English dominated the plate in ACC play, slashing .381/.462/.825 for 32 runs, 37 RBI and 11 homers. Just in the postseason, English hit .500 for 16 hits, five doubles, three home runs and 14 RBI.

Ramsey’s approach to hitting resonated immediately with the Yellow Jacket hitters as he preached patience, strategy and process to the offense. The buy-in paid dividends as seven players hit better than .299, including designated hitter Michael Guldberg, who led the team at .355 and catcher Kyle McCann, who launched 23 home runs for 70 RBI. The two biggest benefactors to Ramsey’s approach were Baron Radcliff and Nick Wilhite, who became monumental pieces to the lineup by raising their averages 77 and 156 points, respectively, from 2018. McCann was drafted in the fourth round of the 2019 MLB Draft, while both Guldberg (third round) and Radcliff (fifth round) were selected in the 2020 MLB Draft.

After the 2020 season was shortened due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Yellow Jackets once again mashed at the plate in 2021, leading the ACC with a .300 average in 36 league games. In the expanded conference slate, Georgia Tech paced the ACC in runs (251), hits (384), doubles (91), triples (10), RBI (230) and on-base percentage (.383). Under Ramsey’s offensive instruction, Tech boasted four .300 hitters – Kevin Parada (.318), Luke Waddell (.309), Justyn-Henry Malloy (.308) and Andrew Jenkins (.302) – while Drew Compton hit .294 with 13 home runs. Waddell and Malloy were both drafted in the 2021 MLB Draft by the Atlanta Braves in the fifth and sixth rounds, respectively.

Joining the Seminoles in August 2018, Ramsey coached the outfielders and assisted with individual and team hitting approaches. In addition to coaching first base, he also began the process of integrating technology into player evaluation and development. Off the field, Ramsey coordinated community service and character development efforts for the team, as the Noles accumulated 200 hours volunteering this fall.

Why James Ramsey will be the next head coach at Florida State

One of the issues tossed around in FSU circles is that Meat and his players didn’t align philosophically. Ramsey presents a much younger option to connect with the players. He will command a cheaper contract than most of the other names and would most likely jump at the chance to be the head coach at his alma mater.

Why James Ramsey will not be the next head coach at Florida State

Experience. One of the knocks about Meat is that he didn’t go elsewhere and earn his stripes before getting promoted at FSU. While Ramsey has the assistant coaching experience and has proven his worth for Georgia Tech in four years, he lacks the head coaching experience that the Seminoles may desire in their next hire.

Cliff Godwin

  • Current position: Head Coach at East Carolina
  • Contract details: Through 2026 with a stipulation that adds a year each season ECU makes the NCAA playoffs. $415,000 base with $60,000 marketing payments.

The Resume:

The East Carolina alum has been the head coach for the Pirates for eight seasons. In that time, he’s led ECU to six regional births and four super regional appearances. He has nearly 20 years of college coaching experiences with time at UNC Wilmington, Vanderbilt, Notre Dame, LSU, UCF, and Ole Miss before his first head gig at East Carolina.

From ECU’s site:

A four-year letterman for the Pirates, Godwin was appointed as ECU’s 16th skipper in the school’s history on June 25, 2014 after completing a three-year stay at the University of Mississippi. During his seven years at the helm of the program, Godwin a three-time American Athletic Conference Coach-of-the-Year, has guided ECU to five NCAA Regional berths (2018, 2019 and 2021 Greenville Regional host), three Super Regional appearances, the 2019 and 2021 AAC Regular season titles, a pair of AAC Tournament crowns and a 258-130-1 (.665) overall record.

Sixteen players have earned All-America status, while 15 were NCAA All-Regional selections, 23 were named all-conference (18 first-teamers) and 14 were drafted by Major League Baseball teams. Under Godwin, a two-time Academic All-America selection, the Pirates have had a combined 325 selections on the ECU Director of Athletics Honor Roll (3.0 grade point average or higher). In Godwin’s seven years leading the East Carolina program, nearly 100 players have earned AAC All-Aca­demic Team honors - including 38 of 40 members from the 2021 club. ECU has also earned six-straight AAC and American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Team Academic Excellence Awards while boasting the highest team GPA of all baseball programs in The American since the 2015-16 academic year.

In the community, the Pirates have volunteered over 5,500 hours working with programs in the Pitt County area such as the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, Team IMPACT, Riley’s Army, Cypress Glenn Retirement Community Flood Relief, Hurricane Relief, Red Cross, First Born Community Development Center, ACES for Autism, Make-A-Wish Foundation and the James and Connie Maynard Children’s Hospital.

Why Cliff Godwin will be the next head coach at Florida State

There’s no argument that East Carolina currently isn’t in a better shape than Florida State. But the opportunity to coach at one of the best college baseball programs in the last 40 years doesn’t come often. Does the likelihood of more publicity and opportunities appeal to Godwin? FSU has recruiting advantages and would allow Godwin to jump into one of the top baseball conferences.

Why Cliff Godwin will not be the next head coach at Florida State

Godwin is basically ECU’s Link Jarrett. He was born in North Carolina, played high school ball in the Tar Heel state, and has two degrees from East Carolina. He has a “life-time” contract at the school and is making half a million each year with built in salary risers. Godwin is set at ECU and if he’s content already, there’s not much Florida State can do.

Chris Hart

  • Current position: Associate Head Coach/Hitting Coach/Recruiting coordinator at North Carolina State
  • Contract details: Unknown

The Resume:

Another former Seminole, Hart played for Florida State from 1999-2003. He’s been an assistant coach at North Carolina State for 18 years, seven of those as the associate head coach. Hart was named Baseball America’s 2021 Assistant Coach of the Year.

From NC State’s site:

He has been responsible for NC State’s reputation as one of the top offensive and defensive teams year in and year out, as the Wolfpack finished third in the NCAA in fielding percentage (.982) and T-fifth in home runs (92) under his direction in 2021. In 2019, NC State finished first in the ACC and 13th in the NCAA with 130 doubles, and in 2018 it finished the season ranked fifth in the nation with 87 home runs and 10th with a .477 slugging percentage as a team.

In 2019, four position players earned All-ACC and All-America honors. Will Wilson became NC State’s first-ever ACC Defensive Player of the Year and first consensus All-American since 2012. Patrick Bailey, a Buster Posey Award semifinalist, and Wilson, a Brooks Wallace Award finalist, were additionally among the candidates for the Golden Spikes Award. In 2021, Hart saw outfielders Jonny Butler and Tyler McDonough rack up a combined five All-America honors and Austin Murr win the Gold Glove Award, while those three along with Terrell Tatum and Jose Torres earned All-ACC honors.

Hart became the program’s lead recruiter in 2010 and produced immediate results on the recruiting trail, signing one of the best recruiting classes in the nation. Among the 13 heralded newcomers on the NC State roster that fall were Brett Austin, a supplemental first-round draft pick and the highest-drafted recruit to attend NC State in 31 years; Carlos Rodon, the 2011 North Carolina High School Player of the Year and a 16th-round pick of the Milwaukee Brewers; and Trea Turner, a slick infield prospect who went in the 20th round to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Baseball America ranked the Wolfpack’s 2010-11 class No. 4 in the country.

Why Chris Hart will be the next head coach at Florida State

Hart’s ties to Florida State could make him a coveted option for the Seminoles. The former ‘Nole has shown the ability to produce above-average offenses and attract the talent necessary to compete at an elite level. The 2021 North Carolina State squad was arguably the best in college baseball. Hart would also be less expensive than Jarrett.

Why Chris Hart will not be the next head coach at Florida State

Hart lacks the head coaching experience FSU may value. Although he has more overall experience than Ramsey, if the Seminoles are worried about a repeat of Martin’s inexperience issues, Hart may not be a top name on their radar.

Doug Mientkiewicz

  • Last position: Manager of the Toledo Mud Hens (Detroit Tigers Triple-A affiliate)
  • Contract details: n/a

The Resume:

Mientkiewicz played for Florida State from 1993-1995, also a part-time roommate with Mike Martin Jr. He played in the Major Leagues for 12 years and also played for the gold-winning U.S. Olympic team in Sydney. Mientkiewicz has coached over five seasons in the minor leagues.

From the Mud Hen’s sites:

He most recently served in 2017 as manager of the Fort Myers Miracle, the Minnesota Twins’ Class-A Advanced affiliate. He has led his teams to the postseason in four of the last five seasons, 2013, 2014 and 2017 with Fort Myers and in 2015 to the Southern League Championship with Class-AA Chattanooga.

Mientkiewicz played at Florida State University before his 12-year MLB playing career between 1998 and 2009 (Minnesota, 1998-2004, Boston, 2004, NY Mets, 2005, Kansas City, 2006, NY Yankees, 2007, Pittsburgh, 2008, LA Dodgers, 2009). He was primarily a first baseman in the majors, winning the 2001 AL Gold Glove Award. Mientkiewicz finished his Major League career as a .271 hitter with 66 home runs and 405 RBI.

Mientkiewicz, who spent 12 years as a Major League player, joined the Tigers organization on the heels of his old manager, Ron Gardenhire, taking over as manager of Detroit. The move gave Gardenhire a trusted voice on potential callups from Triple-A while bringing in a proven winner in Mientkiewicz, who enjoyed success managing in the Twins farm system. Adding to the appeal was that Mientkiewicz was born in Toledo and lived in the area until his family moved to Florida while he was in grade school.

The pairing drew quick success; Mientkewicz’s Mud Hens won an International League’s Western Division title with a 73-66 record in 2018, earning Toledo’s first playoff berth since 2007. Among the success stories was top hitting prospect Christin Stewart, who hit 23 home runs with 77 RBIs that year, third-base prospect Dawel Lugo, Tigers Minor League Pitcher of the Year Matt Hall and infielder Ronny Rodriguez, who batted .338 with a .923 OPS in between stints with Detroit.

Despite Stewart’s graduation to Detroit, the Mud Hens entered this past season with a prospect-laden roster that included Lugo, prized center-field prospect Daz Cameron, former first-round pick Beau Burrows and starting prospect Kyle Funkhouser. However, though the Hens scored more runs than they allowed, they essentially reversed their record, finishing 66-74 and tying for second in their division.

Why Doug Mientkiewicz will be the next head coach at Florida State

Similar to most of the names above, Mientkiewicz is a former Seminole with coaching experience. Where he stands out from Ramsey and Hart is that he has experience being the head man. He’d cost less than Jarrett and Godwin and has already allegedly expressed interest in the position.

Why Doug Mientkiewicz will not be the next head coach at Florida State

Mientkiewicz was fired from the Mud Hens in 2019. There’s a excerpt from that article that stands out:

“Minor League managers and coaches usually aren’t judged on wins and losses as much as on player development, notably with prospects. That might have worked against Mientkiewicz. Burrows and Funkhouser, whom Tigers general manager Al Avila publicly touted at midseason as candidates to join Detroit’s rotation, struggled with injuries and inconsistencies. Funkhouser finished with an 8.53 ERA in 18 starts, while an oblique injury ended Burrows’ season early with a 5.51 ERA in 15 starts.

Cameron, whose strong Spring Training put him in line for a potential midseason promotion, batted .214 with 13 home runs and 152 strikeouts in 120 games. Top catching prospect Jake Rogers, who spent the middle third of the season with Toledo, batted .223 with a .779 OPS after a hot start upon being promoted from Double-A Erie. The most notable prospect emergence came from shortstop Willi Castro, who batted .301 with 11 homers, 62 RBIs and an .833 OPS as a Mud Hen, and Lugo, who improved his walk rate while batting .333 with an .859 OPS between calls up to Detroit.

Mientkiewicz has a reputation of being tough but loyal with his players, including prospects. His telling players they’ve been called up to the Majors for the first time can be memorable for the players involved. But he is also honest with players about the difficulty of the big leagues and doesn’t mince words when asked about prospects’ readiness.”

In my opinion, there are similarities in the above information and Florida State over Meat’s tenure. I don’t believe FSU would want to bring in another coach with potentially similar issues and mentality.

All eyes will be on the Super Regionals this weekend with Jarrett and Godwin in action. If both teams make the College World Series, will the Florida State administration be patient enough to wait for their elimination (or championship) to make their pitch? Or will they go for one of the other names listed? Maybe there’s another name not mentioned.

We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Let us know who you think should be the next FSU baseball coach.