In the matter of Frank Martin’s departure from Kansas State, let’s keep one thing in mind: Actions speak louder than words. And let’s keep in mind that the most important actions are those immediately ahead.
Coach Martin left a tradition-rich program coming off of four NCAA tournament appearances in five years. He could have had a fat raise here, and he could have had a team with the ingredients for a very successful season next year. Yet he chose to go to the last-place team in the SEC, with very little tradition and horrid recent results.
Exactly why Coach Martin made that choice will be a subject debated at sports bars for decades to come. Dueling press conferences Tuesday did little to clarify it. “Time for a change,” was about as much as anybody could offer.
But more about actions. Yes, Coach Martin built a consistent winner here. But John Currie, the K-State athletics director, has done an equally impressive job building the department into a financial winner. He walked into the manure pile left by the revelation of the secret Ron Prince-Bob Krause deal, and he has the department smelling like a rose. (To be completely fair, we should note that Mr. Krause had a two-decade-long record of successful dealmaking that vastly benefited K-State and Manhattan, but that’s another story.)
Anyway, we encourage fans to put a cork in all the “Dump Currie” nonsense on Facebook. That thread has emerged because of the perception that Mr. Currie somehow ran off Coach Martin.
Actions: Fans need to be supportive. Root hard for your team. Buy tickets if you choose. That’s what fans do. We presume they will, as they have before.
Mr. Currie has to hire a good coach. Certainly they exist; we have no particular expertise in the subject, but it’s been done lots of times here and elsewhere. Mr. Currie also has to find ways to help that coach succeed once he’s here. No reason to think that’s a problem.
That’s really all that matters now.
Well, one more thing: When fans come around, there will be the inevitable sour grapes about Coach Martin. We’d like to short-circuit that with a few words here: Thanks, Coach. For all your bluster and glare, we greatly enjoyed your time here. You embodied the underdog that K-State will always be, and some day, after the inevitable bitterness fades, K-Staters will remember you as one of the greats. We know that you helped re-start something special here, and we presume that K-State will now go on to even better days.