Martin, one of college baseball's greatest coaches, dies at 79

February 2nd, 2024

“The best college baseball coach in history.”

That’s how Giants legend Buster Posey described Mike Martin, his coach at Florida State University from 2006-08. That description was more than just a player expressing his love for his coach -- Martin won more baseball games than any NCAA Division I coach ever has.

Florid State Baseball announced on Thursday that Martin, who totaled a record 2,029 NCAA baseball victories, has died at the age of 79 following a battle with dementia.

Martin, who went by the nickname "Eleven" after his uniform number, spent nearly half a century with the Seminoles -- as a center fielder from 1965-66, an assistant coach from 1975-79 and the head coach from 1980-2019. He led Florida State to the NCAA men’s baseball tournament in each of his 40 seasons as head coach, winning eight Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championships and seven ACC Coach of the Year Awards. Martin guided the Seminoles to the College World Series 17 times with two of those appearances culminating in national title games (losses in 1986 to Arizona and 1999 to Miami).

In all, Martin recruited and coached more than 70 All-Americans and four Golden Spikes Award Winners (Posey, J.D. Drew, Mike Fuentes and Mike Loynd). The field on which the Seminoles play at Dick Howser Stadium has been named in his honor.

The accolades for Martin’s coaching exploits are numerous, but he was much more than a baseball coach to those whose lives he impacted.

Posey is just one of more than 50 players coached by Martin who reached Major Leagues, a list that includes include Deion Sanders, J.D. and Stephen Drew, Eduardo Perez, Doug Mientkiewicz, Kevin Cash, Pedro Grifol, Luke Weaver, Cal Raleigh and DJ Stewart.

Perez narrated a tribute video produced by the ACC Network, describing what it was like playing for the legendary coach.

“We arrived as young, inexperienced high school standouts,” said Perez. “But after learning from Martin and winning -- a lot -- for Florida State, we left as professional ballplayers.”

In that video, Perez notes that he met with Martin prior to his final season as head coach at Florida State. He asked Martin how he wanted to be remembered.

“I want to be remembered as a guy who did it the right way,” Martin said. “He was competitive. He never put anything before the players. The players are his main objective. I said I would know when it’s time. I know 40 years is enough.”