Frank Martin: 'If you're on your back, you'd better be a good teammate'

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Saturday April 01, 2017

South Carolina basketball coach Frank Martin became an inspirational figure during the Gamecocks’ Final Four run for his quotes and his career path.

They overcame a 14-point second-half deficit, but came up short against Gonzaga in the Final Four, and a teary-eyed Martin reflected on the effect the team had on the South Carolina community.

The last question at his press conference was how he’d like the team to be remembered, and it was one last coaching lesson — one he learned as a JV coach.

“Exactly the way the game played out. Exactly the way the game played out,” he said. “We are taking on the No. 1 seed, the team that was No. 1 in the country a couple of weeks ago, and with nothing but fifth-year seniors. And we found ourselves in a difficult place during the course of the game. We didn't have the resolve, for whatever reasons, I don't know, to fight the way that we needed to for the first 30 minutes of the game.

“I told our players a story about a JV team that I coached once upon a time that had a bunch of young kids that didn't understand the necessity to be a good teammate and play together. And I took them to wrestle against the wrestlers on our school team and every one of them got pinned. Every one of our guys got pinned. And I utilized that to make them understand if you want to be on your own and do your own thing, try wrestling, not very good at it.

If you want to be good as a unit and you need help to get off your back when you're on your back, then you'd better be a good teammate. And that's what this team did tonight. That's what they've done their whole careers. That's what they've done the whole year is we've gotten put on our backs a couple of times. But we don't lay there. We figure out a way to get off our backs and get back up and fight to the end.

“That's why I'm so proud of these guys and what they've built and how hard they fought to get a lot of people to smile, a lot of people to care. When you get people to smile and care, you're obviously doing something right and that's what these kids have done.”

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to

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