WARNING: This post is not eloquent nor well written but it is chock full of emotion. If you're looking for a more well-written post, go here.
As most of you know, I am a huge hopelessly devoted K-State fan and although I don't blog about them very much, since this is mostly an #agblog, that doesn't lessen my passion.
For example, I didn't post when our football team was only favored in four games but instead went 10-2 and earned a Cotton Bowl berth (where we were unfortunately defeated by the very classy Arkansas Razorbacks).
I didn't post when our men's basketball team beat Mizzou twice- something no other team in the Big 12 could achieve; not even that other Kansas school in Lawrence. Most schools fell to Tiger paws by a significant margin. Not our Cats..
I didn't post when made it to our fourth NCAA tourney appearance in five years.
But I'm posting now because I'm heartbroken and mad.
Our beloved Frank Martin is leaving K-State because he has accepted the head basketball coach position at the University of South Carolina.
South Carolina. A Southeastern Conference (SEC) school - a school in a conference which, except for Kentucky, cares solely about football. I don't exactly know how we're going to recruit a new coach when our AD drives away loyal, passionate coaches to football supporting, losing basketball program schools. Sad, sad story.
This is pretty much all John Currie's fault - in my opinion. It's no secret that Athletic Director John Currie and Frank Martin don't get along and when Currie benched Jamar Samuels before the Syracuse game, which we ultimately lost, without consulting Frank - that was the final straw. Rumors began flying on Twitter on Friday and most of Wildcat Nation believed it to be untrue since Frank hadn't said anything and seriously, why would he go to South Carolina? Over the weekend, Frank was a guest commentator for the Elite Eight games on CBS and showed no signs of leaving and said nothing was final, as rumors continued to fly.
However, the bomb hit on Monday that our man was leaving.
John Currie didn't even try to keep him - just let the best basketball coach KSU has had since Lon Kruger walk away to a program that finished LAST in the SEC. A winning coach who, besides coaching five consecutive 20-win seasons without the help of Bill Walker or Michael Beasley, is one of the most loyal and stand up men K-State has seen in a long time. Integrity, passion (for K-State and the game), loyalty - all values he possessed. The man would go to bat for any of his players and we knew just how much he cared for them when he shed tears discussing Jamar Samuels' final game.
I cried in the breakroom at work when I heard the news. Frank Martin brought the glory, fierceness and excitement back to K-State basketball that we hadn't been seen in years.
I highly doubt Frank Martin will ever read this post but for what's it's worth:
You are going to be missed by a Wildcat Nation 50,000+ strong. A nation who, until 2007, was used to mediocrity and didn't expect wins. You introduced passion, excellence and new life to a sour program. We came to embrace your rough exterior, knowing all along you would stand up for any of your men - which you've proved time and again.
I will likely become a USC basketball fan - solely because of you. You'll always be a wildcat to me and I hope that once John Currie is gone you will return to KSU and continue your tradition of excellence.