By: Khadijah Dennis
Move over Rover, there’s a new coach in town, and he means business. Frank Martin was named USC’s men’s basketball head coach on March 27, 2012, leading the team into their 105th season as a varsity sport. For the past five seasons, he’s managed to lead the Kansas State University Wildcats to the NCAA tournament four times, with a current overall winning record for the season. He’s hoping to lead the Gamecocks in the same direction.
G&B: You talk a lot about the team in many of your press conferences and interviews, how have you made an effort to get to know the players?
Coach Martin: You have to communicate with them. You have to let them get to know you first. I’m the new guy around here; most players have been here before. They understand this better than I did when I got here. For them to be able to open up and accept me, I have to let them understand what I’m about. The beauty of sports is that the season throws some difficult emotions into your relationship [and] those difficult emotions are the ones that allow you to fully understand people because you’re not just going through everything that’s good and great.
G&B: Can students expect any more free food? *crosses fingers*
Coach Martin: [laughs] If you look at the top 10, 12, 15, programs in the country, you also have the best home environments in the country, and with all due respect to the folks that pay a lot of money and make donations to schools, the student body is what gives you the building that becomes special. The student body is who determines the personality that takes place on the court during the game. I’ll do everything I can to thank those students, whether it is shirts, food, or anything I can as a way of thanking them for helping us.
G&B: Are you an iPhone or Android type of guy?
G&B: Before this season is over, what do you want students to know about you as a coach?
Coach Martin: I love people, and I’ve got tremendous passion for people. Some of the most difficult moments for me are when we take to court, and we’ve got those seniors that have gone through the life lessons, the experiences, the negative, the positive, and the raw emotion that 4 years of college brings to you. I know I’m not perfect, so I don’t continue to hold people in judgment as to whether they’re perfect or not. Hopefully, one day, when the players or myself walk onto the court for the last time, we all can know we have made this a better place, a better university because of the passion we have for what we do.
Well, we are at the end of another national championship. Finally. Honestly, this year’s lead-up was perhaps THE most annoying of all time. Besides the fact that my bracket was more embarrassing than Kentucky’s loss (ha-ha), the whole tournament created pissed-off friends and clueless non-basketball fans. Don’t take this the wrong way — I obviously love basketball. But there are a few things I could do without for the next tournament: