A Letter From Frank Martin to His Program
The following letter was written by South Carolina Men’s Basketball Coach Frank Martin to their program and fans after their NCAA Tournament upset of Duke. This is the same kind of passion our coaching staff has for our program and the players in it, so it spoke to all of us. The full letter can be read on the Players’ Tribune.
How’s everybody feeling?
Yeah, I’m feeling pretty darn good too.
Last Sunday, much of the nation learned something that Gamecock Nation already knew: What we have here in Columbia is very special. We have a fan base as passionate as any you’ll find in college sports. And we have a group of young men who are as impressive as any you’ll find in the country. They also happen to play some pretty good basketball.
Of course, this didn’t just happen. Basketball at South Carolina hasn’t always been so good.
When people ask me to describe what this program was like when I first got here, I usually tell them one story. We have a beautiful arena that seats 18,000 people. The first regular-season game I coached at South Carolina … the stadium wasn’t even filled halfway. It was a ghost town. And I’m not talking about ancient history here. This was 2012.
In fact, it was so quiet that I could literally hear a gentleman have a conversation on his cellphone, word for word … from across the court … while the game was going on.
Coming off of a 10-win season, maybe I shouldn’t have been so surprised.
Today, I think I’d be just as surprised to see an empty seat.
This season, we were 13th in the country in total attendance — and that ranking may fluctuate. And in Greenville this past weekend, our fans created an amazing home atmosphere for the first and second rounds of the East Regional. Their spirit helped propel us to our first NCAA tournament victories in 44 years. Let that sink in.
We ask our fans to give us three things — three very precious things.
We ask for their time, which is the most valuable possession that any of us have.
We ask for some of their hard-earned money, which is what we all fight our tails off to earn. (And to get a ticket to a tourney game in blue-blood country, I know it must have cost you all a pretty penny. That means the world to me.)
Our fans started showing up even when we weren’t winning.
And we ask for their passion. Any time you give something, or someone, your passion, you’re making a personal sacrifice.