Mike Martin, winningest coach in college baseball history, dead at 79


Mike Martin, the winningest coach in college baseball history, died Thursday at 79. 

Martin was the head coach at Florida State University from 1980 to 2019 and passed away after a three-year battle with Lewy body dementia, FSU said in a press release. 

Mike Martin acknowledge the fans

Florida State Seminoles head coach Mike Martin acknowledges the fans after the game against Virginia Tech on Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium on March 9, 2019 in Tallahassee, Florida. The #7 ranked Seminoles defeated the Hokies 5 to 2 to give Martin his 2,000th career win. (Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)

Martin took Florida State to the NCAA Tournament 40 times and went to the College World Series a record-tying 17 times. He finished his career with a record of 2,029-736-4 and is the all-time winningest coach in any NCAA sport

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The Seminoles never won a national title under Martin but twice finished second in Omaha, Nebraska. 

“Mike Martin was an iconic figure in the history of college baseball and a man who was both respected and beloved throughout the game,” Michael Alford, vice president and director of athletics, said in a statement. “His record of winning the most games in the history of the sport out him at the pinnacle, and his ability to win consistently at the very highest level of the game was equally remarkable. 

“Mike was a tremendous ambassador for Florida State University and loved FSU with all his heart. He lit up a room with his enthusiasm and energy and his insistence that his teams always play the game the right way and with class was appreciated from coast to coast. 

Mike Martin speaks to the media

Florida State Seminoles head coach Mike Martin addresses the media at the post-game press conference after the game against Virginia Tech on Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium on March 9, 2019 in Tallahassee, Florida. (Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)

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“The sport has lost one of the all-time greats and we have lost one of our greatest Seminoles.” 

Martin took FSU to the CWS in his first and last seasons in Tallahassee, winning 19 conference titles along the way. Martin was named Conference Coach of the Year 13 times. 

I want to be remembered as a guy that did it right, that put education first, that made sure that guys understood what’s expected of them, that they’re coming to Florida State to get a degree first,” Martin said on June 19, 2019, when his career ended with a CWS loss to Texas Tech in Omaha. “We’re not a school that just wants baseball players. We’re a university that demands that you do what you’re supposed to do in the classroom, and that’s give it your best shot.

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Mike Martin sits in the dugout

Florida State Seminoles head coach Mike Martin in the dugout before being honored as college baseball’s all-time winningest coach prior to the regular season final game against #4 ranked North Carolina State on Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium on May 19, 2018 in Tallahassee, Florida. (Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)

“I want to be remembered as a guy that played the game hard but made others around him feel good when they whipped my fanny.”

Martin coached 20 players who went on to be selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball Draft, including legendary San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey. 

Martin is survived by his wife, two children and four grandchildren. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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