Mike Martin is a legend. The Florida State head baseball coach recently became the first coach in the history of his sport to record 2,000 career wins. Since Martin took over the head gig in Tallahassee in 1980, the Seminoles have never won fewer than 40 games in a season. The man who goes by “Eleven” for his long-time uniform number has won Coach of the Year in his conference 13 times.
In honor of Martin’s recent historic achievement, we’ve compiled a collection of quotes and tidbits to give you a glimpse into the mind of the all-time winningest coach in college baseball history.
“It’s the greatest game in the world. It teaches us failure. And everybody is going to fail at this game. It’s the guy that shows the mental toughness, the guy that will go the second mile, those are the ones that are going to be successful.” -Martin to Next Level Ball Player
“I’m not in this to so-called be loved. I’m in this to teach. And sometimes it is tough love.” -Martin to D1Baseball.com
“You’ve got to have guys at every spot that you’re not worried about losing the ballgame because somebody had not had enough reps (there)…At the same time, we want those young ones to challenge the (older guys). It’s so much different from professional baseball. Where (if) a guy has a $5 million contract, they’re not going to put him on the bench. Here at Florida State and other programs, you may have a guy that’s returning as a .340 hitter, but yet he knows he can’t go through the motions. He’s got to bust it in the weight room and on the field to prove he deserves this opportunity.” -Martin to Seminoles.com
“As a coach you have to be sure that the young men know how to handle the attention and success but more than that, the failure. I get a charge out of watching them get better.” -Martin to Inside Pitch Magazine
“I always love it when a guy comes back and says, ‘Eleven, I really appreciate the way you got on me when I wasn’t doing my job in the classroom,’ and then he looks me in the eye and brags about a job he’s got or the way he’s worked up the ladder to success. That’s what still excites me. To see them come here as a boy and leave as a man, that is still truly what I love to get out of the game.” -Martin to ESPN
“As players, the things that he valued and installed in us, you had never been involved in a baseball practice unless you had been involved in a Florida State baseball practice. What I mean by that is that as players, when you come into a program, the things that you do in a practice setting and the way that he would talk to you, coach you and teach you, he would talk the game and tell you that in this adverse situation, this is what we’re looking to do and this is how we’re going to do it and you’re doing it in a practice situation. The next thing you know come springtime, you’re two weeks into the season and you’re in that same situation and dang sure if it isn’t just how he described, just the way it was supposed to be. Two pitches later, you’re out of the inning and you’re thinking this is what he prepared us for.” -Mike Bell, former FSU pitcher and current FSU pitching coach, to the Tallahassee Democrat on Martin.
“I’m not going to allow winning a national championship or never winning one to define me. I want to be remembered as a guy that did everything he could to make a player better and at the same time see these young men become great fathers and, in some cases, grandfathers.” -Martin to Tallahassee Magazine
“I think with the youth on our club, we’ve just got to get out and play and start learning from mistakes that I know we’re going to make.” -Martin to Baseball America
“You have to be yourself. Don’t try to be somebody that you aren’t or something that you aren’t. You have to understand that the game is about the young men. The game is not about you.” -Martin to ESPN
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