Florida State athletic director David Coburn’s opening remarks were the first of a volley of candid statements and funny quips that surprised and entertained the crowds assembled to receive Mike Martin Jr as Florida State’s baseball coach.
Coburn’s candor comes as no surprise to those who know him.
“Most of my close friends, and certainly my wife, Mary – who is here – will tell you that going into this process in the fall I was a bit of a skeptic about (Mike Martin Jr),” Coburn said, with Martin sitting to his left. “So I spent a lot of time studying this team in the spring and I managed to spend the last three and a half weeks with this team in Athens and Baton Rouge and Omaha. I had an opportunity to observe him interacting with the players, and interacting with the boosters, the fans and interacting with the press. And I had the opportunity to observe his work ethic, his attention to detail and to be honest I came away very impressed.”
Coburn’s opening comment set the stage for FSU’s new head coach to promptly establish his own identity.
“I am Mike Martin Jr. I am not Mike Martin Sr.,” FSU’s new baseball coach said. “There will never be another Mike Martin Sr. Nobody will do it as long or as well as he did.”
The new head coach articulated a litany of changes he plans to make but not before he listed those core principles his father established.
“We are going to treat people the right way,” he said. “We are going to work hard. We are not going to berate guys. We want the whole person. We want them right mentally, physically, spiritually, socially and we will go to the ends of the earth to make sure they have every opportunity to be right.”
His voice was strong when he shared his vision and plans.
“But there will be things that will done differently,” he said emphatically, listing the following:
– Not taking as many pitches in strike zone
– Moving the team dugout back to the third-base line
– Taking names off the back of jerseys
– A faster, up-tempo brand of play
– More focus on mental health
He dropped the mike with this very un-Martin like statement.
“I don’t want another pitch taken on the inner third of the plate,” he said. “I don’t want another one taken, a fastball in the middle part of the plate, ever again in this program. Right, wrong or indifferent, I got to find out.”
The generational difference was no secret; this only aired it. A reporter doubled down with another question about it and Martin responded candidly and with humor.
“Well, he’s an offensive guy as well. But I’m an assistant. An assistant makes suggestions,” Martin said. “Look, I’m not going to roll the guy for crying out loud. I stayed in my lane but we had some doozies.”
In addition to answering the burning questions about his vision for the program, Martin demonstrated he does have skills behind the podium with the press and later at the booster reception.
Some of his better one-liners included: