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Sapakoff: No Wojcik-like red flags in South Carolina head coach Frank Martin's job review

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Sapakoff: No Wojcik-like red flags in South Carolina head coach Frank Martin's job review

South Carolina head coach Frank Martin talks to his team during an NCAA college basketball game against Auburn, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, at Auburn Arena in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/The Birmingham News, Julie Bennett)

Reporting that South Carolina head basketball coach Frank Martin's official job review for the 2013-2014 season was basically positive is a little bit like covering another safe landing at the airport.

Except for a Palmetto State context that shook up the sport this summer.

The combination of the College of Charleston's messy dismissal of head basketball coach Doug Wojcik in August and Martin's own problems with overly aggressive behavior toward players last season calls for unusual scrutiny. It became apparent that reports of some of Wojcik's over-the-line verbal jabs at players surfaced in his annual review, so it made sense to ask for Martin's file with an open records request.

For the most part, the 48-year-old Miami native did well on his review: 90 out of 100 overall as scored on June 18 by Kevin O'Connell, chief operating officer in the South Carolina athletic department.

Martin was suspended by athletic director Ray Tanner for one game last March as punishment for a yelling fit directed at freshman guard Duane Notice during a 26-point home loss to Florida.

He also apologized in January for screaming profanely at senior guard Brenton Williams during a home loss to Mississippi.

"Unfortunate moment by me during game vs. Florida in dealing with a student-athlete. Served a one-game suspension for my actions. Great learning experience for me," Martin wrote under "Coach's Comments" in a section of the review subtitled "Negative Visibility."

The accompanying "Sports Administrator's Comments" space is left blank by O'Connell.

Otherwise, Martin is lauded for the basketball program's academic progress and extensive charity work, and for doing a "wonderful job" in the community. He is praised as a team player within the athletic department.

No indication of player, parent, fan or administration complaints.

The lowest score is a 24 out of 30 points for "Successful Competitive Experience." Translated: South Carolina is hoping for improvement this year after records of 14-18 and 14-20 and a 9-27 overall SEC mark in Martin's first two seasons in Columbia.

In an official sense, South Carolina considers Martin's outbursts a bygone issue. Just after the March suspension, school president Harris Pastides sent an email to school officials:

"Ray (Tanner) took this decision very seriously and was extremely thoughtful in his process, consulting with me several times on the matter. He and I agree this is the right move for the basketball program and the right move for USC. . Ray and I are confident this decision will make our team stronger."

No doubt, Martin can coach when presiding over a team with enough talent. He led Kansas State to the NCAA Tournament four times in five years.

Martin's third year at Kansas State was a vault from the NIT the previous season to 29-8 and the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.

Martin goes into his third season at South Carolina with the Gamecocks bound to improve starting with an early season schedule that includes a Nov. 20-23 visit to TD Arena for the Charleston Classic.

The "great learning experience" of last season should help, too, and Martin isn't alone.

You can bet a lot of college basketball coaches followed every detail of the Wojcik case and will tread more carefully into their next season of job review scrutiny.

Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff

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