Madness: 3 Former Kansas State coaches in 2 years reach Final 4

For the second straight year a former Kansas State coach is in the Final 4. Dana Altman earned a trip Saturday with a win over Kansas and Frank Martin’s team beat Florida Sunday.

This is the second straight year a former Kansas State basketball coach is leading a team into the Final Four.

Lon Kruger took Oklahoma to the Final Four last season. Eventual National Champion Villanova destroyed the Sooners. Kruger was a former two-time Big 8 player of the year for the Wildcats. As head coach, the ‘Cats made the NCAA tournament every season.

This is Frank Martin’s first trip to the NCAA tournament since he took Kansas State following the 2011-12 season.

That’s right, Martin’s South Carolina teams have not been in the big dance until this year.

Mar 26, 2017; New York, NY, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Frank Martin celebrates while cutting down the net after beating the Florida Gators in the finals of the East Regional of the 2017 NCAA Tournament at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

This was South Carolina’s first NCAA tournament win since the early 70s. It was also the school’s first trip to the Sweet 16 and beyond.

On the other hand, Martin coached Kansas State to four NCAA tournament berths over five year as head coach of the Wildcats.

Last Sunday, Martin’s team knocked off Duke. I thought they’d be satisfied with that accomplishment. I was wrong.

On Sunday, for the third time in this tournament, Martin’s team came from behind for a win. Whether you like him or not, Martin can coach.  What he’s done in Columbia is amazing.

Former Kansas State coach Dana Altman’s accomplishment at Oregon is just as impressive. The Ducks will make the school’s first Final Four appearance since the 1930s.

Altman led the ‘Cats to the NCAA tournament just once as head basketball coach. He left Kansas State for Creighton after the ’93-94 season.

Altman and Martin could face each other for the National Championship next Monday.