Frank Martin to South Carolina: Former K-State Coach Will Revitalize Gamecocks

Josh Martin@@JoshMartinNBANBA Lead WriterMarch 26, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 17:  Fead coach Frank Martin of the Kansas State Wildcats reacts as he coaches against the Syracuse Orange during the third round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Consol Energy Center on March 17, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Frank Martin hasn't officially left Kansas State for South Carolina yet, though if the move goes through as expected, then the Gamecocks will have themselves one heck of a coach.

Martin took the reins of the Wildcats program from Bob Huggins, who left Manhattan after one year to take his dream job at West Virginia, and promptly put together a 117-54 record in five seasons, making him the fourth-winningest coach in school history behind only Jack Hartman, Tex Winter (the father of the Triangle offense) and Jack Gardner.

Over that same span, Martin guided the Wildcats to four NCAA Tournament appearances and oversaw the development of his fair share of K-State stars, most notably Wally Judge and Rodney McGruder.

In other words, Frank can coach and he has the "Steely Gaze of Death" to prove it.

TUCSON, AZ - MARCH 17:  Head coach Frank Martin talks to Curtis Kelly #24 of the Kansas State Wildcats  during their game against the Utah State Aggies in the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at McKale Center on March 17, 2011 in
Harry How/Getty Images

More importantly for folks in Columbia, Martin is set to arrive in the Palmetto State as a program builder.

Martin won't have "Huggy Bear" to prime the pump for him this time around, though he will be much closer to his south Florida roots now, which should, in theory, enhance his ability to recruit.

It's also a golden opportunity to breathe life into another dormant doormat in a Big Six conference without the burden of great expectations. The Gamecocks haven't been to the Big Dance since 2004, when Dave Odom guided the team to a 23-11 record and a first-round exit.

Martin's fire-breathing ways figure to ignite at least some measure of excitement and discipline in a team that won just 10 games this past season under Darrin Horn, whose resume was devoid of coaching experience at a major conference school prior to his arrival at USC.

Turning around a disharmonious beat of that sort will be no easy task for Martin—and won't get any easier if the NCAA starts sniffing around him in light of his recent comments about paying his former players—though if there's any comfort to be taken in his next assignment, it's this:

The last time South Carolina employed a man named "Frank" to coach its men's basketball team, he lasted 16 years, won 283 games and led the Gamecocks to four March Madness appearances.

Not that Frank Martin is anywhere near the level of Frank McGuire, who won a national title at North Carolina before he switched south, but at least he has something to fall back on if/when times get tough.



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