All-time winningest college baseball coach Mike Martin sits down with WJHG/WECP

By  | 

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla (WJHG/WECP) - "I think it started as a four-year-old kid with a glove that was given to me by a cousin."

Early on, Florida State University Baseball Coach Mike Martin looked at the sport as something to do and a way to challenge himself.

"Baseball's always infatuated me in the fact that you can make an awful lot of money being successful three out of 10 times," Martin said. "And there are not many areas that you can be successful three out of 10 times and make a good living. And I kept trying to get better each year."

His talents took him to the pros, where after just a few years...

"I saw how many good baseball players there were in this country, in other countries, and I realized maybe I should look into the coaching area," Martin said.

Martin started his coaching journey as a high school basketball coach, then transitioned shortly after to assistant baseball coach at Florida State.

"It was a fairly easy transition," Martin said. "And it turned out to be the beginning of something that I never dreamed would materialize."

Jamie Hale: "How much were you making, if you don't mind me asking, as an assistant at FSU?"

"Well, Jamie, the first year I made $2,000," Martin said.

Martin quickly made more money and FSU history by 1978.

"[I was] the first full-time assistant baseball coach of Florida State baseball," Martin said.

And by 1980, he was in his first year as head coach.

"It's amazing how I can remember the starting lineup in 1980," Martin said. "The trip that we made in 1980 to the CWS."

Jamie Hale: "What are some mistakes, some good things you did at a younger age as a coach?"

"The first year, I wasn't the kind of coach that I should have been," Martin said. "I was a little overboard, a little over-aggressive, expected an awful lot out of the players. If you didn't do what you were supposed to do on the field it would cost you playing time; a guy that needed to just calm down a little bit."

Discipline and competition are two things Martin says reap success.

"I've been on a one-year contract at Florida State from 1980 through 2000," Martin said. "I didn't have a contract that would allow me to just relax."

No relaxing, just winning.

In May, the No. 15 Seminoles beat Clemson, giving Martin his 1,976th win, breaking the record for most wins in NCAA history.

Jamie Hale: "You're the winningest college baseball coach in history. What was that moment like when you were awarded that?"

"When you look at a career that has spanned as many years that I've had, we're very fortunate at Florida State," Martin said.

Thirty-nine years, and one more to go.

In part two airing Wednesday at 6 p.m., Martin talks about his decision to retire after the 2019 season and his dream of how that 40th season might end.