Charlotte, NC: Former Florida State head baseball coach Mike Martin passed away at the age of 79 on Thursday. Martin's career began within the NJCAA as a student-athlete at Wingate Junior College in North Carolina. Before Wingate became a four-year institution, they were a NJCAA member and Martin was an outfielder for the Bulldogs. He was named a NJCAA Baseball All-America Selection in 1963 and 1964. In the 1964 season, Martin led Wingate to the NJCAA JUCO World Series in Grand Junction, Colorado. It would be their first appearance at the JUCO World Series in school history. He also played basketball at Wingate. Martin moved on to play at Florida State University for two seasons. After a three-year career in minor league baseball, Martin decided to enter the world of coaching.
Martin started his coaching career, not on a baseball diamond, but on the basketball court at Tallahassee Community College (FL). He spent one season as the head man for the Eagles. Baseball remained a calling to Martin, and he returned to Florida State as an assistant baseball coach in 1975. In 1979 he was named the head coach at Florida State and remained the head skipper for 40 seasons.
Throughout his tenure, Martin accumulated over 2,029 wins, the only coach to reach 2,000 wins, 17 College World Series appearances, two-time Baseball America Coach of the Year, eight ACC Tournament Titles, and an induction into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2019. Martin became the winningest coach in college baseball history on May 5, 2018. Sixty former players reached the major league level and 20 were selected in the first round. Some notable players who took the field for "11" included Deion Sanders, J.D Drew, and Buster Posey.
A public memorial service for Martin will be held on Saturday, February 10th at noon at Howser Stadium, the field that bears his name, in Tallahassee, Florida.