FSU’s Martin Closes Out 40-Year Home CareerColumns
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Two things that legendary Florida State head coach Mike Martin has never had to do: one, miss an NCAA Tournament, he’s been to 39 straight. And two, prepare for the last time he will ever coach a game at Dick Howser Stadium.
But after 40 years as the head honcho of the Garnet and Gold, Sunday was indeed the first time he’s had to prepare for one last go-round in venerable Dick Howser Stadium. Martin announced after last season that 2019 would be his final season as head coach, closing an incredible string of 40 straight 40-win seasons.
Yes, let that sink in a bit. Thirty-nine previous seasons and not once did he come up with even as few as 39 wins. But the 2019 season has been a bit of a struggle. For the first time in his career, 11 (as he’s mostly known) is in serious danger of coming up short of both the 40-win mark AND the postseason. Entering Sunday the Seminoles were 33-18 and sitting at No. 58 in the RPI, which for an ACC team is not a good place to be. Even with their conference mark at a respectable 16-11, if the season ended today the Seminoles would be on the slippery side of the bubble. Yes, that means getting the golf clubs out after Memorial Day for the first time since John Travolta was striding down the Brooklyn sidewalk with a can of paint in his hand (Google it youngins).
“Our guys know what’s in front of them,” Martin said after Sunday’s rain-shortened 7-2 win over Richmond. “I just want them to do what we’ve been telling them to do the last eight to 10 weeks, take nothing for granted.”
On Sunday, the Seminoles followed that advice to a T since this was a series “we really needed to win,” Martin said afterward. The Spiders came in ranked down at No. 162 in the RPI, so a three-game sweep wasn’t going to help FSU’s ranking anyway. But if the Noles had lost one of these games to the Spiders? Egad, that would’ve been bad. Crushing, even.
It didn’t look good early as RU took a 2-0 lead on A.J. Kloehn’s two-run sonic shot to left field in the top of the second inning.
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