Adam Collins / The Daily Gamecock, Adam Collins

Commencement Issue: Martin apologizes for 2014 suspension, delivers on promise to improve

Men’s basketball coach Frank Martin apologized Friday, March 7, 2014, for the tirade against a player that earned him a one-game suspension, saying he would work to improve his behavior.

Martin said at a press conference that he’d been talking to Athletics Director Ray Tanner for the last six months or so about his actions toward players. His suspension wasn’t just tied to one incident, and he said he “fully supported” Tanner’s decision.

What would happen if Martin runs into trouble again isn’t clear. He said he and Tanner didn’t have that conversation.

Martin has long been known for his fiery courtside demeanor, and he said that in his last year at Kansas State, he’d given up swearing. Once he moved to South Carolina, the pressures of a new job with new challenges caused him to stray.

“The one-game suspension is a result of inappropriate verbal communication as it relates to the well-being of our student-athletes,” Tanner said in a statement.

But Martin planned to give up swearing again. He’d planned to give it up for Lent, he said, and he told his players that he would well before TV cameras caught him yelling at freshman Duane Notice. Lent began Wednesday; Martin’s blowup happened Tuesday night.

Martin said he had a problem, but not one that lingered 24 hours a day. He said instead that he struggled with the “12 seconds” a day when his emotions boiled over.

“It’s got to change,” he said. “I don’t know what else I can tell you.”

The suspension caused a difficult, but “self-inflicted pain,” Martin said. He apologized to his family and his players — current and former. He said he’d “deeply embarrassed” his wife and that his mother had been crying since she found out about the suspension.

“The hardest thing to do in life is to look in the mirror and fix your own faults,” he said. “I’m extremely disappointed in my ignorant actions.”

His family had caused him to clean up his act before, Martin said. He gave up swearing at Kansas State after his son told him he’d been bad.

Friday morning, Martin said “it hurt” to watch his son cry after finding out he and his dad wouldn’t travel to Mississippi State for the Gamecocks’ regular-season finale Saturday. Assistant coach Matt Figger will take over for Martin.

“Obviously I’ve created a problem, and there’s only one person who can fix the problem — that’s me,” he said.

Read the full version of this story, originally published in 2014.


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