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Florida State baseball coach Mike Martin to retire after 2019 season

Longtime skipper has led Seminoles since 1980

Florida State coach Mike Martin salutes the crowd at Dick Howser Stadium after he got his 1,900th win when the Seminoles defeated VCU 11-3, Feb. 19, 2017, in Tallahassee, Florida.
Florida State coach Mike Martin salutes the crowd at Dick Howser Stadium after he got his 1,900th win when the Seminoles defeated VCU 11-3, Feb. 19, 2017, in Tallahassee, Florida. (AP Photo/Joseph Reedy)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Mike Martin will return for his final season as head coach of the Florida State baseball team in 2019.

Florida State announced Monday that the longtime Seminoles skipper will call it quits at the conclusion of next season.

"I've said this so many times, but it is true, I am just so thankful to work for a school like FSU and an athletics administration that has given me every opportunity to be successful," Martin said in a statement.

Martin, 74, recently surpassed the late Augie Garrido to become Division I's all-time wins leader. He needs just 13 wins to reach 2,000 career victories.

However, unlike Garrido, who won three College World Series championships at Cal State Fullerton and two more at Texas, Martin's resume has been marred by his failure to ever bring a national title to Tallahassee.

The seven-time Atlantic Coast Conference coach of the year has won eight ACC championships and guided Florida State to 16 of the school's 22 College World Series appearances. The Seminoles have never missed the postseason under Martin, owning the nation's longest active streak.

Martin graduated from FSU in 1966 and returned to his alma mater in 1975 as an assistant under Woody Woodward and then Dick Howser. When Howser left after one season to manage the New York Yankees, Martin stepped into the head role in 1980.

Martin's first win was a 9-8 victory against the Hurricanes in Coral Gables on Feb. 24, 1980. His inaugural team went on to win 50 more games and earn a trip to Omaha, Nebraska -- college baseball's capital.

Mike Martin, wearing No. 11, is pictured with his 1980 Florida State baseball team.
Mike Martin, wearing No. 11, is pictured with his 1980 Florida State baseball team.

The Seminoles always seemed to be a fixture in Omaha under Martin, even after they transitioned to the ACC and navigated a much tougher schedule. FSU went to the College World Series for three straight seasons from 1994-96 and again from 1998-2000. The Seminoles were Omaha-bound in seven of FSU's first nine ACC seasons.

FSU hit a slump, by program standards, in the early 2000s, failing to return to Omaha from 2001-07. It was the longest drought between College World Series appearances under Martin.

Twice under Martin, the Seminoles have made it all the way to the College World Series championship game. In 1986, FSU mounted a ninth-inning charge, but it was too little too late for the Seminoles, who lost to Arizona 10-2.

But it was the loss in 1999 might have stung the most. The Seminoles fell one run short in a 6-5 loss to rival Miami.

Florida State's playing surface was christened Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium in 2005.

Martin's teams won 50-plus games in each of his first 12 seasons, and the Seminoles have never won fewer than 40 games in his tenure. On two occasions, Martin's teams reached 60 or more wins. FSU's 61 wins in 1986 set a school record for victories.

With an overall record of 1987-713-4, Martin's .736 career winning percentage is the best among active coaches.

New York Yankees manger Joe Girardi, left, talks to Florida State head coach Mike Martin after a spring training exhibition game, Feb. 25, 2014, in Tampa, Florida.
New York Yankees manger Joe Girardi, left, talks to Florida State head coach Mike Martin after a spring training exhibition game, Feb. 25, 2014, in Tampa, Florida.

He has coached four players (outfielder Mike Fuentes, pitcher Mike Loynd, outfielder J.D. Drew and catcher Buster Posey) who went on to win the Golden Spikes Award, honoring the most outstanding player in amateur baseball.

Other future Major League Baseball standouts to play for Martin include Luis Alicea, J.D. Drew's younger brother Stephen Drew, two-sport star Deion Sanders, Doug Mientkiewicz, current Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash and former No. 1 overall draft pick Paul Wilson.

Martin's most recent team won a second consecutive ACC tournament title and earned a national seed in the NCAA tournament, but the Seminoles went 0-2 in the Tallahassee regional. For many FSU fans, it was just more of the same for a storied program mired in futility.

It's hard to ignore the fact that the Hurricanes have won four national championships since Martin took over, while heated rival Florida took home its first College World Series title last year. The Gators have won eight straight against FSU and 13 of the last 14 games dating to 2015.

"There is no finer representative of Florida State University and no better champion of college baseball than Mike Martin," FSU athletic director Stan Wilcox said. "His passion, dedication and demand for on-field success are as strong as they were the day he got the job, and I'm eager to watch what he and our team can accomplish next year."

Martin was scrutinized for his decision to bring back starting pitcher Drew Parrish to finish out the final inning of FSU's elimination game against Mississippi State earlier this month. Parrish, who had thrown 109 pitches, returned after a rain delay that lasted more than two hours.

A New York Daily News columnist wrote that Martin should be fired for risking potential injury to his star pitcher.

"I'm glad that they want me to continue coaching next season, and I thank all our former and current coaches, staff and, most importantly, our players for the consistent success of our baseball program," Martin said. "You don't win at our level without student-athletes who dedicate themselves to playing as a team and playing for something more than themselves."

Wilcox said there will be a national search for his replacement at the end of next season.