Mike Martin is the greatest college baseball coach of all time. He is the only NCAA coach in any sport to eclipse 2,000 career wins and a large reason Florida State’s baseball program is the winningest program in D-I history.
As Martin closes out his career in what will be his final season in 2019, he deserves the utmost respect and highest praise. Even from Florida Gators fans. But when the two teams take the field, all bets are off.
In what very well could have been Martin’s last time coaching the Noles in Gainesville, Florida’s baseball team kicked the snot out of the 75-year-old skipper’s team, much like they did to Winthrop just a couple weeks ago. The Gators hung a 20-spot on Florida State, winning 20-7 Tuesday night at McKethan Stadium.
It was the most runs Florida has scored against FSU since 1980, when Martin’s squad lost 21-6 in just his 10th career game as head coach.
In Martin’s 2,700 games since then, he’s accrued a 76-75 record against Florida. The rivals have two mores games against each other slated this season — one in Jacksonville and the other in Tallahassee.
It would be something if Martin ended his illustrious tenure in Tallahassee with a losing record to the Gators. Judging by recent results, it looks like that might happen.
UF has won nine-straight games against FSU and 14 of the last 15. But it’s not like they haven’t been close. Five of the last seven contests have been decided by three runs or less.
Still, maybe this is the baseball gods’ way of saying it’s time for Martin to retire. What better way to usher out an era of a legend by passing the torch to someone like Kevin O’Sullivan, who looks primed to become Florida’s own Mike Martin?
The visual version of that might’ve happened before Tuesday night’s game. O’Sullivan presented Martin with a personalized golf bag and an Alaskan cruise. It was a nice moment between the two coaches.
Now, maybe the Gators and Noles will see each other in NCAA Super Regionals. Martin can either end on a high note against UF or get more use out of that golf bag sooner than he expects.