Last month was a crazy time for K-State fans everywhere. What would normally be a quiet time of the year for most schools turned into weeks of watching rumors and waiting for a major bomb to be dropped on Bramlage Coliseum. It all started on April 4th when Frank Haith was officially named as the successor at Missouri as Anderson headed out. Normally that wouldn’t have anything to do with Kansas State but Haith left a hole that needed to be filled at the Mecca and Medina of Head Coach Frank Martin’s heart: Miami University.Since HCFM has been at Kansas State, it has always been clear how much he loved Miami and how quickly he would jump at the opportunity to go back. Miami is not only a pipeline state for Martin and his recruiters, but it’s where the man grew up from childhood. The opening at Miami immediately struck fear in the heart of Wildcat nation as it seemed the coach that everyone has come to love was headed out way too soon. Instead, Miami did the unthinkable and never bothered to even sniff around Martin. Most schools, when looking for a new head coach, would love to get a rising star, someone who is local, and a proven winner. Leave it to the incredibly sound athletic department at thug U to go in a completely different direction. After it was clear Miami wasn’t interested and there wouldn’t be any contact, K-State fans breathed a collective sigh of relief. That was until April 10th when Frank Martin seemingly threw itself into the Mami mix whether they wanted him or not. Rather than the normal “deny everything” mode that most coaches go into when the center of speculation, Frank got caught up in the spirit of going the other direction shown by Miami and decided to pitch himself using the media as his spokesperson. Later he said that he never wanted to leave Kansas State but this quote from his own mouth begs to differ:
“Everyone’s reporting that my salary is $1.55 million [annually]. Actually, my salary is $1.1 million. Now, I’m an old high school teacher who was making 32 grand when I moved to Boston, and I’m extremely grateful and thankful for the salary I make right now. If I stayed the length of the [five-year] contract and I collect every bonus on the contract, it will average out to $1.55. And you know what? There is a chance that the University of Miami never called because they think I make $1.5. There’s a chance just because it was released at $1.55 the University of Miami said, ‘We can’t call him. Why waste our time? We can’t pay him.” (espn.com)
The false security Wildcat Nation had was demolished and once again it only seemed like a matter of time before the Martin family was headed to the coast… this time because of Frank himself. Some argue that Martin wasn’t looking for a get out of Manhattan free card but I beg to differ. Another 2 weeks of worry ended in late April when Miami opted for George Mason’s Jim Larranaga and left Martin facing another freezing Kansas winter and while Wildcats fans rejoiced, the damage had already been done.
So what are all the after effects of the worst month of 2011?
First, we’ve all lost a little trust in Frank Martin. I don’t know why but I thought that the loyalty Frank had for Kansas State would be different than most coaches. K-State gave him a huge opportunity to coach when nobody else was knocking and then rewarded him quite well for the job he’s done. I don’t blame him for having interest in going home and having the opportunity to coach where he grew up, I blame him for pitching himself publicly while still employed by the school that gave him a shot. I’m sure that Martin appreciates what Kansas State has done for him but it absolutely clear that the appreciation only goes so far.
Second, I think the players have lost a little trust for Frank Martin. Now that the season is over, it seems that there are some deeper issues in the locker room than even the season hinted at. Too many players are leaving the program and transferring to other schools. I know some of that has to do with family issues and other circumstances but if all these young men were feeling taken care of by their coaches and team I just don’t see them all fleeing. I don’t think the Miami situation is a major factor for any of the guys headed out but who wants to play for a guy that has shown everyone he is willing to ditch you if the opportunity comes. Martin can’t expect anymore loyalty from his team than he’s shown in the last month which could be a problem.
All that said, Martin is still a great coach that will continue to be loved by all those cheering on the Wildcats come next season. It will be interesting to see if the events of April have any long term effects and here’s hoping that they don’t.