Mike Martin, college baseball’s career wins leader, will retire after 2019 season

Florida State coach Mike Martin watches from the dugout during the first inning of the team’s NCAA college baseball game against Clemson in the semifinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Durham, N.C., on May 26.
(Gerry Broome / Associated Press)

Mike Martin will take one more shot at getting Florida State a national championship in baseball.

The university announced on Monday that 2019 will be Martin’s 40th and final season as the Seminoles’ coach. The 74-year old Martin, who became college baseball’s career wins leader in May, has a 1,987-713-4 record and .736 win percentage.

Martin was honored by Florida Gov. Rick Scott Wednesday and said following the ceremony that he was hoping to finalize the rest of his career when he met with athletics director Stan Wilcox. Wilcox said in a statement he has talked with Martin several times over the past couple of years about his plans.


Wilcox added that the school will wait until the conclusion of next season to conduct a search and name Martin’s successor. Martin, who played at Florida State, was an assistant for five seasons before taking over the program in October 1979 when Dick Howser was hired to manage the New York Yankees.

Florida State has reached the NCAA tournament and won at least 40 games for 41 straight seasons, which are the longest streaks in both categories. To put the Seminoles’ run of 40-win seasons in context, Louisville is next with seven.

Florida State has accomplished everything under Martin except win a national championship. His teams have made 16 trips to the College World Series - including last year - but have only reached the finals twice (1986 and ‘99).

The Seminoles were 43-19 and won their eighth Atlantic Coast Conference title this season but were eliminated in the Tallahassee Regional. They lost on a walk-off homer by Mississippi State’s Elijah MacNamee after Martin decided to remain with pitcher Drew Parrish despite the sophomore sitting more than two for a rain delay after throwing 109 pitches. The left-hander ended up throwing 133 pitches in the 3-2 loss on June 2.

Martin was heavily criticized on social media, including by incoming Baseball Hall of Famer Chipper Jones, due to the chance of Parrish suffering an arm injury. Martin did not second-guess his decision. “I am not going to comment in any way because it is in the past,” Martin said. “Drew will throw in the next two weeks. I think that’s really all I need to say.”