Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Florida State baseball legend Mike Martin dies at 79; former head coach has most wins in Division I history

Legendary Florida State baseball coach Mike Martin has died, the university announced Thursday. He was 79. A cause of death was not given, though Martin was dealing with the effects of Lewy body dementia, the Tallahassee Democrat reported last month.

Martin was FSU’s head coach from 1980-2019. His 2,029 wins are the most in college baseball history and his career .733 winning percentage is second highest among coaches with 2,000 decisions. Martin’s Seminoles went 2,029-736-4 in his 30 years at the helm. He led them to 17 College World Series appearances and the College World Series Finals twice (1986, 1999).

Seven times, Martin was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year (1996, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2007, 2009, 2012) and twice he was named Baseball America’s Coach of the Year (2012, 2019). He was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2019, and, in 2005, FSU named their field in his honor: Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium.

Among the notable players to play under Martin at FSU were Deion Sanders (1987-88), J.D. Drew (1995-97), Stephen Drew (2001-04), and Buster Posey (2006-08). He had more than 70 players named All-Americans and four of his players won the Golden Spikes Award, baseball’s equivalent of the Heisman Trophy: Mike Fuentes (1981), Mike Loynd (1986), J.D. Drew (1997), and Posey (2008).

Prior to taking over as the team’s head coach, Martin played at FSU from 1965-66, then briefly in the minors with the New York Mets and Detroit Tigers. He then coached basketball at Tallahassee Community College before returning to FSU as an assistant baseball coach in 1975. Martin took over as the Seminoles head coach in 1980.

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