The Daily Nole

Sunday Centerpiece: FSU Men’s Sports Superlatives for 2018-19

Colin Abbey/FSU athletics

It was another outstanding year in Florida State athletics and we’re less than two months away from beginning another one.

For the men’s sports, FSU football had a year to forget, but on the hardwood, the Seminoles returned to the Sweet 16 for a second straight season. In the final season of legendary head baseball coach Mike Martin’s tenure, FSU reached the College World Series for a second time in three years.

Before the new athletic year kicks off for men’s programs with FSU football taking on Boise State in Jacksonville, we look back on the best of the best from this past athletic year:

Team of the Year: FSU basketball
A senior-laden team coming its first Elite Eight appearance in 25 years, Florida State basketball lived up to expectations during the 2018-19 season with a second straight Sweet 16 appearance and an AP top-10 national ranking. FSU overcame a slow start in ACC play and some key early injuries to set new program records for wins (29) and ACC wins (13). The Seminoles reached the ACC Championship for just the third time in their history. The campaign began with a 21-point beatdown of rival Florida — FSU’s fifth straight in the rivalry. Mfiondu Kabengele and Terance Mann would each go on to be selected in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Athlete of the Year: John Pak, FSU golf

John Pak became the first FSU player to win the ACC individual title since Jonas Blixt in 2007. (FSU athletics)

FSU sophomore golfer John Pak had a year to remember. Pak was named a first-team All-American by PING!, Golfweek and the Golf Coaches Association of America. Pak was also named to the All-ACC team and the Haskins Top 15. Although FSU finished fourth as a team, Pak shot -13 at the ACC Championships to become the first Seminole to win the ACC individual title since Jonas Blixt in 2007.

Freshman of the Year: Bryand Rincher, FSU track and field

FSU’s Bryand Rincher was an All-American in three events. (Bob Thomas/FSU athletics)

Bryand Rincher, a sprinter, was named ACC Men’s Freshman of the Year for the Seminoles. After winning silver for the 200 meters in the ACC Championships, Rincher earned first-team All-American honors in the 60 meters at the NCAA Championships in Birmingham. At the ACC Outdoor Championships, Rincher finished third in the 100 meters and was part of an FSU team that would claim the ACC crown in the 4-by-100 relay. Rincher would go on to claim first-team All-American honors in both events as the FSU 4-by-100 team earned bronze at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

Most Improved Athlete of the Year: J.C. Flowers, FSU baseball

FSU’s J.C. Flowers became the first Seminole since 2010 to record 10 homers and 10 saves in the same season. (Mark Kuhlmann/FSU athletics)

Prior to the 2019 season, J.C. Flowers had never thrown a pitch at the collegiate level and was a sub-.230 hitter for his career with just two career home runs. As a junior in 2019, Flowers was given the reigns as the team’s closer and posted a 1.69 ERA to go with an ACC-leading 13 saves. At the plate, Flowers hit a career-best .266 with 13 home runs and 53 RBIs while swiping a team-high 11 bases. Flowers became the first FSU player since Mike McGee in 2010 to have at least 10 homers and 10 saves in the same season en route to being named a first-team All-ACC selection and a second-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America.

Coach of the Year: Leonard Hamilton, FSU basketball

FSU’s all-time winningest coach Leonard Hamilton has taken the Seminoles to consecutive Sweet 16s. (Mike Olivella/FSU athletics)

At nearly 71 years old, FSU head basketball coach Leonard Hamilton shows no signs of slowing down. In his 17th season at FSU, Hamilton coached the Seminoles to new school records for wins (29) and ACC wins (13). FSU reached the ACC Championship for just the third time in program history and reached the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament for a second straight. Getting to the Sweet 16 in consecutive seasons was something that had been done just once prior in program history and not in the previous quarter century. Other season highlights included knocking off rival Florida for a record fifth straight time and downing six ranked opponents, including eventual national champion Virginia.

Performance of the Year: Drew Parrish, FSU baseball, College World Series vs. Arkansas (June 15)

Drew Parrish worked eight shutout innings in a 1-0 win over Arkansas in the College World Series. (Mark Kuhlmann/FSU athletics)

The Seminoles had not won their first College World Series game since 1999 when FSU opened its stay in Omaha against No. 5 national seed Arkansas on June 15. Florida State prevailed with a 1-0 win and starting pitcher Drew Parrish was the biggest reason why. In eight shutout innings, the lefty allowed just five hits and two walks while striking out nine. Parrish’s night ended with him working out of a first and third, 1-out situation in the eighth to keep the game scoreless. The Seminoles scored the game’s only run in the top of the ninth.

Contest of the Year: FSU baseball topping LSU to reach Omaha (June 9)

Drew Mendoza’s 12th-inning single in the Baton Rouge Super Regional sent FSU to Omaha. (Ken Lanese/FSU athletics)

Florida State baseball had never won a road Super Regional, but after rallying from four runs down to beat LSU on June 8 in Baton Rouge, the Seminoles were one win away from doing just that. FSU led 4-1 after five innings on June 9, but the Tigers drew even with a run in the sixth and two in the eighth. In extra innings, FSU’s Antonio Velez and LSU’s Devin Fontenot traded zeros until the 12th inning. After Mike Salvatore singled and advanced to second, Drew Mendoza sent the Seminoles to Omaha with a walk-off single with two outs to give FSU a dramatic 5-4 victory.

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson. Like The Daily Nole on Facebook. To pitch an idea, author a post or to learn more about The Daily Nole, email Mike Ferguson at

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