BEST K-STATE BASKETBALL COACHES: NUMBER 5 – FRANK MARTIN
Coached at K-State from 2007-2012 (Record:117-54)
Kicking things off on the list is Frank Martin, who had an impressive stint with the Wildcats. Martin coached high school ball before making the leap to the college ranks in 2000. His first college job was as an assistant at Northeastern before moving onto Cincinnati as an assistant head coach.
Kansas State hired Martin as an assistant in 2006 and he had that role for two years before getting the head coaching gig in 2007. Bob Huggins had been the coach in the 2006-2007 season and left after one year to take the open position in West Virginia.
Martin had a lot of success as Kansas State’s head coach and it all began in the 2007-2008 season, as the Cats went 21-12 in his first year. The Wildcats went on to make the tournament, their first appearance in the big dance since 1996, and were ranked as high as 18th at one point that season.
Year two was underwhelming, but year three (2009-2010) was arguably Martin’s best at the helm, as his team went 29-8 and finished the year as the seventh ranked team in the country. They’d earn a two-seed in the tournament for their impressive regular season.
Kansas State made it all the way to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament that year, knocking off North Texas, BYU, and edging out Xavier in an exciting overtime game. They fell to Butler, but it was a close game and KSU fans knew Frank Martin was one of the best ever to coach for them after that season.
While year four was still exciting for the K-State faithful, the Wildcats would get eliminated from the tournament after just two games, ending the regular season at 23-11. They’d finish their 2010-2011 campaign ranked 21st in the country.
In Frank Martin’s final year, K-State went 22-11 and once again were bounced in the tournament after just their second game. This time it’d come at the hands of the top ranked Syracuse Orange, who had a big leg up on the Wildcats.
Despite Frank Martin’s success as the head coach for KSU, then Athletic Director John Currie wasn’t willing to match offers in order to keep Martin in Manhattan. Martin was getting offers from other schools and eventually went on to become the head coach at South Carolina.
K-State fans watched in agony as their former head coach led the Gamecocks to a Final Four in the 2016-2017 season and wondered what could have been. Even though Martin didn’t stick around, he’s the fifth best head coach in Kansas State basketball history.