The Mike Martin Era ended on Wednesday night after a 4-1 loss to Texas Tech in the College World Series.
Here are some highlights of Martin’s last press conference:
Opening statement: I think the main thing that I want everyone in this room to know is how proud I am to be a Seminole and be a part of a program that is so important to me, but yet to see these young men display the leadership that they did when things were not going right for us six, eight weeks ago, I’m just so pleased that they took the bull by the horns and brought us to Omaha. I don’t want what they accomplished to go unnoticed. For them to go out and play in a very tough ballpark in Athens and an even tougher ballpark in LSU — great fans, let’s get this clear. It’s just tough. Catcher can’t even hear you from, gosh, 20 feet away.
But what they accomplished is close to unbelievable, but yet they’re disappointed, as we all are, with the outcome. But what’s the outcome? We finished fifth or sixth in the College World Series? Our season ended in Omaha. There are a whole lot of folks that wish their season ended in Omaha.
I’m proud as everything of each and every one of our young men. Just know that I can fake a smile with the best of them, and I’ll get through this, the rest of this night, with a smile, because I got to watch young men grow up. I got to work for Florida State for 45 years. And I’ll never forget the times that I’ve had out here in Omaha. Yeah, I’ll go ahead and say it, 17 times. I ain’t going to say we never won one, because you know, just getting out here is just so much fun to be with people that are living in the heartland of America and creating something that every college baseball player aspires to, and that’s to get to Omaha. Well, we got here. We got beat, but it does not take away from any of our enjoyment as a result of what the young men did in order to get here.
What he said to his son and assistant coach Mike Martin Jr. after the game: Carol raised a young man that doesn’t like to lose at all. He didn’t have a whole lot to say. He needs time to cool off. He’s the backbone of this club. He did an amazing job. He was obviously very disappointed because he wanted so much for me to get that elusive championship. Remember, he came out here twice as a player himself in the three years that he was at Florida State. He’s an intense competitor. They talk about the 10-minute cooling-off periods. He needs two weeks to cool off.
Where does this season rank in all of his 40 seasons: The fact that it was the last season at Florida State, how can I find anything wrong? I saw guys grow up. I saw freshmen – we started four freshmen. That’s so invigorating to see a freshman have success in front of great fans. Many of our guys, shoot, we had more attend Fan Day than they played for the whole time they were in high school. So it’s just a year that I’ll always remember because there was so much accomplished by this team, culminating with getting to Omaha.
His interactions with fans the last few weeks: That was neat. A lot of those great Seminoles were not from Tallahassee, they were from all over the state and other states. We had a great turnout of Seminoles. And when they started calling for me, I wasn’t about to ignore that because – well, I owe that to them to go back out there because they acknowledged me, and I just am very proud that they are great supporters of our program as well as other programs at our university.
How does Martin want to be remembered: This is the only time it gets hard. 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. 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. 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. And y’all never want to talk about L’s. I got some L’s. But that to me is — it’s what was so humbling to hear for the last couple of days from a few coaching staffs, because there’s a certain way that I think the game of — we’re dealing with college baseball players. This is not professional baseball. I don’t throw at hitters. That’s not college baseball. College baseball is one in which a student-athlete — and there’s no better description of a baseball player than a student-athlete. They have responsibilities. But their maybe responsibility is giving it their best shot in the classroom and on the field.
What he will miss the most about coaching: The teaching part. I mean, for the last at least 30 years, when the guys take ground balls, I’m in the outfield watching. It was as recent as six hours ago when I was right there and they were taking ground balls. I believe that repetition is crucial to becoming the kind of program that you want. You cannot take things for granted. And I’m out there, and another very important part of our program is it’s got to be fun. That doesn’t mean “ha ha” when it’s time to bear down. It means that you still got to enjoy. You look forward to coming to practice, you look forward to playing a game, you look forward to certain situations and get out of an inning, because you worked so hard with the infielders, the pitchers. Clyde Keller did a great job with our pitchers this year. So I think the big thing is keep things in perspective but never lose sight of the important little things. That’s the difference in winning and losing.