Frank Martin, as our site’s Tully Corcoran wrote earlier, is the true Cinderella story of the NCAA Tournament. With a week of coverage leading up to the national semifinals, you can bet no rock will be unturned and no anecdote not rehashed about his long and winding career from bouncer to JV coach to now.
In his postgame press conference on Sunday, Martin revealed something that, because it’s him, is endearing about his personal life.
As ASAP Sports transcribed, a reporter asked: “This obviously is very emotional, so stick with me for just one second here. You talked yesterday about being a dreamer. You talking about all the dreams of your family now. You married a woman from New York City, get to play in the regional here, and at exactly five o’clock you cut the last snip off the net and wave it around while Frank Sinatra’s belting out New York New York. Is it something you can even dream of?”
“No,” Martin answered. “My wife turned me down seven times to go out on a date. Seven. Seven. And the day she made the mistake on going out on a date with me, I never let her go. And she mothers my children, she puts up with my nonsense about work, when we came to a new community where she knew nobody at, she’s been dealing with our kids while I’ve been running around the country trying to build a program. New York’s a special place to me, my sister, her husband, their children, they live in the Cobble Hill area in Brooklyn.”
“They run a family, little family restaurants, they work every single day, the way my grandmother and my mother taught us to work,” the Gamecocks coach continued. “My wife’s family, same story as my family. Unbelievable that she’s the one that gets put in my life. And I’m up there and people like have asked me before, what kind of music I listen to. I listen to Sinatra. And I usually listen to “My Way” the day of the game. And then to be up on that ladder cutting that net and a life-long dream, and hear ‘New York New York’ at a place that’s special to me, special to my family, it’s pretty powerful.”
Who knows whether that story about how he finally began dating his wife is exaggerated or not. It’s the kinda thing that when it works out it retroactively becomes a symbol of grit and sticktoitiveness, but, when it doesn’t, would nowadays lead to a screenshot on social media showcasing how many times she just flat out didn’t respond.