Frank Martin sends classy message to K-State after Wildcats advance to Elite Eight

Frank Martin proved again Friday morning why he’s one of the classiest coaches in college sports.

The South Carolina coach had a down year with the Gamecocks after leading his team to the Final Four a year ago, but that didn’t stop him from congratulating his old program, Kansas State, on surprisingly advancing to the Elite Eight on Thursday.

Following the 2012 season, Martin parted ways with the Wildcats after clashing with then-Kansas State AD John Currie. But Martin is one of the most successful coaches in K-State history — made four tournaments in five years and never won fewer than 21 games — so congratulating the Wildcats is a very nice gesture.

As for the Ernie Barrett video referenced — that’s an even better story. Here’s the emotional video Martin was speaking of:

Barrett was on Kansas State’s 1951 national runner-up team that lost to Kentucky in the championship game. Defeating those same Wildcats almost 70 years later is a special feat.

“This meant something to us, because of Ernie Barrett,” K-State guard Mike McGuirl told the Wichita Eagle’s Kellis Robinett after the game. “This isn’t a regular postseason matchup, even though it was a game to advance to the Elite Eight. It meant something extra, because it was K-State vs. Kentucky. We had never beaten them all-time.”

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