Florida State baseball coach Mike Martin Jr. fired, search for his replacement underway
Florida State baseball coach Mike Martin Jr. will not return for the fourth and final year of his original contract.
FSU announced Friday afternoon that Martin, 49, was let go and a national search to find his replacement would begin immediately.
It remains to be seen exactly how long that search will last and how expansive it will be.
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The top target to emerge early in the search is Notre Dame head coach and FSU alum Link Jarrett. Jarrett was also a candidate when FSU hired Martin Jr. in 2019, but wound up with the Irish later that offseason after he wasn't hired.
Entering Saturday, Jarrett has posted an 84-29 record in South Bend. That .743 winning percentage is the best by an ND coach since the early 20th century.
This weekend, Jarrett has Notre Dame competing in its second consecutive NCAA Super Regional after it had previously won one regional in program history. The Irish won the opening game of the Knoxville Super Regional 8-6 over No. 1 Tennessee.
Entering Saturday's second game, Notre Dame needs just one win over the next two games to advance to the College World Series for the first time since 2002 and just the third time in program history.
After Friday's game, Jarrett was asked about the FSU opening and didn't exactly downplay the possibility he may take the job after the season comes to an end.
"I mentioned it (to the team) today," Jarrett told reporters. "I said, 'I love you guys. We're here to win this. I'm not talking about this coaching stuff. I'm talking about Notre Dame and the University of Tennessee,' and that goes in here, too. There are distractions. That's a unique one, and I wanted them to know that because it is out there.
"I have no idea what's going on down there. That coach was my roommate and a good friend of mine. My focus is 100% on this and this team and trying to find a way to win one of these last two games. That's it."
Martin Jr. finishes his FSU tenure with a 77-54 record over two full seasons in addition to the COVID-shortened 2020 season. His .588 winning percentage is the worst by a head coach in FSU baseball history.
In the wake of his dismissal, which definitely came as a bit of a shock, there was some reaction from the college baseball world, many of whom seemed to quickly jump to Jarrett as a candidate.
Many across social media expressed mixed emotions over Martin Jr.'s departure.
"Making the change with our baseball coach was not an easy decision, but it is our responsibility to put our student-athletes and our teams in the best position to reach their full potential," FSU director of athletics Michael Alford said via press release.
"Ultimately, the decision came down to whether our baseball program was performing up to the admittedly high standards that we have established through our historic success and I do not believe we were.
"We deeply appreciate all Mike has done for the program as head coach, as an assistant coach and as a Seminole student-athlete. His passion for the university and the baseball program is unequaled. I am sure I speak for all Seminole fans when I say we wish him and his family nothing but the best."
Looking at the FSU athletics' world, whoever replaces Martin will be the third head coach hired by Alford in less than three months.
Alford hired FSU associate women's basketball coach Brooke Wyckoff to replace Sue Semrau in March and Tennessee head soccer coach Brian Pensky to replace Mark Krikorian in April. He also helped in the final portion of the process which led to FSU naming Stephen Ponder as the new president/CEO of Seminole Boosters earlier this week.
Mike Martin Jr.'s departure closes chapter which began in 1980 with his father
FSU baseball failed to host an NCAA regional for the third straight time this season, the last two of which have come under Martin, Jr.
The Seminoles failed to advance out of the regional round for the second straight year last weekend in Auburn, the first time that has happened at FSU since the 2006 and 2007 seasons.
FSU holds the longest NCAA streak of consecutive regional appearances at 44.
"It ultimately falls on me,” Martin Jr. said following his team's elimination from the Auburn regional “… It is the standard. It always will be the standard at Florida State. Our job is to recruit our tails off, evaluate the way we do things, make changes if necessary. There’s going to be a lot of things we look at.”
Martin was regarded for his recruiting prowess. The Seminoles' 2022 recruiting class is currently ranked 10th nationally.
At the end of his tenure as an assistant, FSU had landed five straight top-five recruiting classes, according to Baseball America. The Seminoles in back-to-back years also had the highest ranked recruiting class in the ACC.
However, he also served as the Seminoles' primary hitting coach and that has been FSU's biggest team problem over the last few seasons. His son Tyler is an infielder for the Seminoles.
Martin earned $425,000 in 2022 and was scheduled to have been paid $450,000 in the final year of his contract.
Martin's firing brings an exit to a longstanding era in FSU baseball.
Martin has led the FSU baseball team for the last three years after his father, Mike Martin Sr., coached the team from 1980 through 2019 before retiring as the winningest coach in college baseball history.
Martin, Jr. - nicknamed "Meat" - played at FSU and spent 22 years as an assistant coach at his alma mater before being promoted to head coach.
Potential FSU baseball head coach candidates
Notre Dame head coach and FSU alum Link Jarrett
Pitt head coach and FSU alum Mike Bell
Georgia Tech assistant coach and FSU alum James Ramsey
ECU head coach Cliff Godwin
Royals bench coach and FSU alum Pedro Grifol
Marlins infield/baserunning coordinator and FSU alum Jody Reed
Reach Curt Weiler at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @CurtMWeiler.
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