Frankness good call for Martin


Since there has finally been an actual news story about men’s basketball coach Frank Martin and his thoughts on the topic of Miami, this seems an ideal time to join the conversation that has been running on speculation for weeks.

If you haven’t already heard the rumors about Martin being considered for the head coaching position at the University of Miami (i.e. if you live under a rock, have been out of the country or otherwise were incommunicado in the last week or so), here’s a little context.

Former Missouri head coach Mike Anderson turned down a contract extension with the Tigers in favor of taking the head coaching job at Arkansas, the school where he spent 17 years as an assistant coach earlier in his career. Now filling his former position at Missouri is Frank Haith, who left the University of Miami for the job. The city of Miami, of course, is where Martin is from (he attended Florida International University) and where he coached high school basketball for many years before coming to K-State.

On Monday, Associated Press sports reporter Doug Tucker conducted an interview with Martin, and the coach spoke more extensively than he had so far on the vacancy in Miami and what his position is on the topic. Already his words are being picked apart and scrutinized, but I think taking what he said at face value is the easiest – and probably most accurate – way to go.

In the interview, Martin said 1) that he had not been contacted by Miami, 2) that he thought maybe that was the case because the school did not think it could afford him and 3) that while he and his family love it here in Manhattan, he is never going to say that he will not listen to any other offers.

Obviously, those candid statements could make some Wildcat faithfuls a bit nervous. Everyone wants to hear a blanket promise from Martin that he is never going anywhere and would not dream of considering other options.

Fans want assurance that K-State’s enigmatic coach won’t follow in the footsteps of fellow coaches who left one school in favor of one closer to home. Think of the Wildcats’ biggest rivals, and two examples in particular come to mind.

In maybe the biggest coaching shake-up of recent Big 12 years, coach Roy Williams left Kansas, where he had great success in 15 years, for his home state of North Carolina, where he had coached under legendary coach Dean Smith for a decade. Fast forward several years and you have, as mentioned earlier, Anderson defecting from Missouri in favor of Arkansas.

Knowing that coaches often end up going home when they have the chance, K-Staters wanted nothing more than to hear Martin say that he is not going anywhere and never will. But that’s not what the coach said.

Personally, I’m not surprised. Martin’s players always say they first trusted the coach because of his honesty and his lack of sugarcoating. In this situation, as in many, he declined to sugarcoat the reality that he is not going to just commit to being in this job forever.

Everyone has heard the expression, “Never say never.” Well, why would Martin make a promise to fans to stay forever when he has no idea what the future holds for him and his family? As a husband and a father, he has to do what is best for them.

I know Martin has genuine affection and appreciation for K-State, Manhattan and the people here, but that doesn’t mean that life might not take him somewhere else at any given point in the future.

I enjoy K-State basketball and I enjoy getting to watch Martin lead this program, so I, too, would have liked an all-encompassing confirmation that he plans on staying here. However, I think being honest is better than making promises and having to renege on them later.