South Carolina making it to the Final Four is shocking except for those who know head coach Frank Martin well.
Martin has worked long and hard to get to be in the position he’s in today as the Gamecocks head coach. Before ending up at South Carolina, Martin worked as a change boy at a pool hall, a restaurant dishwasher, bus boy, did some work in landscaping, sold newspapers, and was even a bouncer while getting a degree from Florida International so he could break into varsity basketball, according to CBS Sports.
The coach credits his mother and other family members for instilling a strong work ethic in him.
“[MY MOM], my grandmother and my uncle fought through, I can’t say it any other way: they fought their a–es off to give me a chance to move forward,” Martin told CBS. “I’ve got incredible people in my life. My mom, my uncle, they fought to keep me out of trouble.”
Martin had to get his first job when he was 12 after his father left the family. The coach started work at a Dairy Queen while his mom raised him and his sister while working for salary as a secretary.
“We’d go to Wendy’s or Burger King every two Fridays, that was our family meal,” Martin said. “She gave me the courage to try and do this for a living. I made her cry one time when I was a teenager because I made the wrong choice. I’m never making her cry again for making the wrong choice,” Martin said.
He did make her cry again Sunday, but it was because he led the Gamecocks to a win over Florida in the Elite Eight. She was in attendance and said she was “happy as any mom could be” after seeing her son’s greatest moment as a head coach so far.
Martin was a high school basketball coach from 1985-2000 until he became an assistant at Northeastern. He’d get his first head coacing job in 2007 with Kansas State and accepted a job at South Carolina in 2012, where he’s been for the past five seasons.
The Gamecocks have channeled the work hard and grind mentality of their coach and they’ll now have the opportunity to possibly win an NCAA Championship.
Martin has been able to take the program to new heights this year.
Before 2017, the Gamecocks had never been to the Sweet 16 or the Elite Eight. This year they knocked off No. 2 seed Duke to reach the Sweet 16 and beat fellow SEC rival Florida to reach the furthest point in the NCAA Tournament they’ve ever been to.
South Carolina will face Gonzaga in the Final Four Saturday with a chance to move on to the National Championship game on April 3.