Fanning The Flames: Final Letter To Frank


 

Dear Frank,

How’s it going, friend? I haven’t heard from you in awhile! Congrats on becoming a Cock (giggle…giggle). I meant to say Gamecock—really I did. I’ve been missing the old days lately: Serving you at Carlos O’ Kelly’s during the coach’s show, watching you go at it with Nick Wright on 610, and even high-fiving you at Allen Fieldhouse, right before getting taken to the woodshed by KU.

I wanted to reach out, to see how things are going because, well, I’ve been having some sleepless nights without you. Since you left, things have changed quite a bit in Manhattan: K-State hired Bruce Webber, the students left for the summer, and there’s a new La Hacienda Grocery Store and Taqueria that I think you’d really enjoy.

I should really stop beating around the bush. I wanted to reach out to you because I don’t like how things ended up between us. You were easy to love. You preached hard work, loyalty, and drive—to never settle for anything less in life. Here’s a great tweet of yours, for example:

Commit yourself 2 something & stick with it thru tough times or u will always b on the outside looking in when success comes around”- Frank Martin.

Wow—such moving words! You’re such a motivator! However, I have a bone to pick with you. How can you tweet out crap like that? You can’t be serious.  You don’t see the hypocrisy with that? “Commit yourself 2 something & stick with it thru tough times”. Frank, we’re grateful for everything you have done for the basketball program. However, the truth is, without Bob Huggins and Dalonte Hill laying out solid ground for you to stand on, this opportunity might have never presented itself.

Frank, you never fully committed to K-State like we deserved.  We took a risk on a high school basketball coach—a risk that protected a phenomenal recruiting class. We relished your success, because we rejoiced in the waking of the sleeping giant of K-State’s Men’s Basketball. Wildcat fans appreciate good things, but flirting with other schools every offseason, player transfers, and the explosive tirades on the sidelines, it all started to become a bit much.

What’s the big secret, Frank?  Rumor is that six players—yes, six!—would’ve transferred if you hadn’t left. What was happening behind closed doors? I understand where you come from with the “tough love.” But when do you start looking in the mirror? The truth behind your exit is that you were losing the players. Frank, we respect you, but you need to learn how to adjust. Just like any business, if you don’t learn how to evolve, you’ll fail.  Let this be your wakeup call.

Also, we’ve heard you didn’t like your boss. Well, welcome to the real world—and get over it! Many of us work for—or have worked for—someone we can barely stand. The Jamar situation was a shame, sure, but John Currie was trying to protect the image of the University. Whether we agree with how it was done or not, you pointed the finger the other way.

And then, you ran away. I think you ran because you understood deep down that with all of the player departures, and the lack of new talent coming in, that the crap was about to hit the fan. You settled for a position at South Carolina where you knew you’d have some leverage. It’s a wasteland of a basketball program, and you know expectations will be lower. You got out while you could, took a raise, and now have less pressure to succeed. That’s not a winner’s mentality, though. Learn from your mistakes, and establish a new way of communicating with your players. Having sat next to one of the mothers during the NCAA Tournament, I know that the clock was ticking for you.

Some suggestions:

  • Leave the little people of the world (Stan Weber) alone. It’s amazing to me how you can kiss butt to all of the National Media Members of the world on Twitter, but can’t be decent to the guys that bat for the same team.
  • Get rid of the jort shorts. Man that crap is embarrassing. In fact, change your whole wardrobe.
  • It’s Tournament, Not tornaaament. T-O-U-R-N-A-M-E-N-T!
  • Get a recruiter—your classes have started to slip ever since Dalonte left.
  • Find an offense to run. I hear scoring points helps.
  • Continue to energize the fan base. You’re a great cheerleader and it’s appreciated.
  • Start giving players compliments. Here’s a secret. That helps build confidence. (See: The destruction of Will Spradling this past season.)
  • Be loyal. Don’t engage with other schools every offseason. It’s hard to build something great when you’re always looking for the next thing.

Take this with a grain of salt. I mean, what do I know? I’m just an avid fan that lives and breathes K-State. What you did in your time with us was truly amazing. However, like most breakups, the one who gets dumped vents their anger. The truth is, I just wanted you to stay a little bit longer. You were fun, and you were ours. You were exactly what K-State needed at the time, and I don’t want you to think I’m ungrateful, because I feel very blessed for the time we got to spend with you. You will be missed. Good luck and don’t forget where you started.

 

Sincerely,

Fanning

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