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Longtime former Florida State baseball coach Mike Martin has dementia

Wife reveals husband, who retired as all-time wins leader in Division I baseball history, has been battling dementia since 2021
Florida State Seminoles head baseball coach Mike Martin says goodbye after losing at 2019 College World Series
Posted at 11:40 AM, Oct 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-16 12:00:11-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Legendary former Florida State head baseball coach Mike Martin has been diagnosed with dementia.

His wife, Carol Martin, told the Tallahassee Democrat that her husband has been suffering from Lewy body dementia since the summer of 2021.

"It's so heartbreaking for me to see my companion of 58 years progressing down that path," she told the newspaper in an interview last week. "It's a 24/7 proposition. He's not with us. He's in his own little world."

Mike Martin was at the helm of his alma mater from 1980 to 2019, winning more than 2,000 games in his career.

Florida State Seminoles baseball coach Mike Martin removes cap before news conference for 2019 College World Series
Florida State head baseball coach Mike Martin removes his cap at the start of a College World Series news conference Friday, June 14, 2019, at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb.

The Seminoles never had a losing season under Martin and won at least 40 games in each of Martin's 40 seasons, culminating with a trip to the College World Series in 2019. He retired as the all-time wins leader in Division I college baseball history. The only blemish to Martin's otherwise impeccable resume was the elusive national championship.

His son, Mike Martin Jr., was named as his father's successor just two days after the longtime skipper retired. The elder Martin had lobbied for his son to succeed him.

However, Martin Jr.'s teams never advanced past the regionals in the NCAA tournament and he was fired after the 2022 season.

Link Jarrett, who was a starting shortstop for the Seminoles under Martin, was tapped to take over in June 2022. The Seminoles finished last season with a 23-31 record – their first losing record in program history.

Florida State Seminoles baseball coach Link Jarrett watches warm-ups, May 2, 2023
Florida State head coach Link Jarrett watches warm-ups before a game against Florida on Tuesday, May 2, 2023, in Jacksonville, Fla.

"Mike Martin has helped shape me as a man and encouraged my journey into coaching, and it's an honor to now serve as head coach at Florida State on the field that bears his name," Jarrett said in a statement Friday.

Jarrett went on to say that he's "known of 11's diagnosis" and praised the Martins for "their strength and bravery by going public with what had been his private battle with dementia over the last couple years."

"Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with 11, Carol, the entire Martin family and everyone he has impacted at FSU," Jarrett said. "He is the greatest to ever coach college baseball and is a model of character and integrity."