The Daily Nole

Hot Take Tuesday: Mike Martin Jr. Will Be Under More Pressure Than Most First-Year Head Coaches

Jeremy Esbrandt/D'Vel Photography/FSU athletics

One month separates us from the start of Florida State baseball and for the first time in four decades, the Seminoles will have a new skipper.

Former assistant Mike Martin Jr. will take over for his legendary father as the Seminoles open the season at Dick Howser Stadium on Valentine’s Day against Niagara. One of the most prestigious programs in the country, the younger Martin will certainly have to deal with plenty of scrutiny.

For even the most successful programs, most new head coaches are given some leeway early on to mold the program in their images. For Martin, there probably won’t be a whole lot of that.

Replacing a legend is never easy. Mike Martin Sr. retired after last season with more victories than any college head coach in any sport ever with more than 2,000. The younger Martin will also inherit a program that — despite the absence of a national championship — has won 40 games in every season since 1977 and has reached the College World Series in two of the last three years.

The expectations for Martin is that the streak will continue. For FSU, that’s a minimum threshold.

While highly-regarded by former players and college baseball experts, there will always be sentiments that nepotism played a factor in his promotion. The younger Martin had been a member of his father’s staff since 1998.

When Martin announced his retirement, there was a significant portion of the fan base that clamored for a fresh start. Chipola College head coach Jeff Johnson or former players with coaching or managing experience such as Doug Mientkiewicz or Eduardo Perez were mentioned as potential candidates. The man they call “Meat” was in no way a slam dunk hire.

The good news for Martin is that he and his staff have been making major waves on the recruiting trail and should have a pretty good team returning. The Seminoles do lose a lot of key pieces, but have a nice front end of the rotation with C.J. Van Eyk and Conor Grady and some very experienced relievers in Antonio Velez, Chase Haney and Jonah Scolaro. At the plate, five of the nine everyday starters return with Robby Martin, Nander De Sedas and Reese Albert being the most notable.

As Willie Taggart found out on the gridiron, big-time programs will expect results fast. In his first season at FSU, Taggart’s Seminoles went just 5-7, failing to make a bowl for the first time since 1981 and suffering through their first losing season since 1976. After a 4-5 start to 2019, Taggart was fired after just 21 games.

With similar streaks intact on the diamond, there will be no learning curve for Martin. Given the skepticism behind the hire, fans will expect results and they’ll expect them immediately.

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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