MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State's John Currie locked up Frank Martin for the next five years as the two signed a contract calling for an annual compensation of $1.55 million through the 2014-15 basketball year. Currie called it a "long term commitment" from school to coach, and, coach to school. Earlier in the day, Martin, KSU's third-year coach, was named the Big 12 Coach of the Year.

Frank Martin is Kansas State.

And as of yesterday, the good news is that he'll remain Kansas State for the next five years after signing a basketball coaching contract on Sunday that will extend through the 2014-15 season.

How can one with Cuban heritage, with Miami South Beach bar-scene upbringing be so Kansas State?

The reasons are a personality of the Midwestern values of loyalty, honesty, integrity.

The reasons are being "real" and being appreciative.

The reasons are being passionate and a care of the past.

The reasons are being a faithful husband and a loving father.

And, the basketball reasons of being solid with Xs and Os, and being unmatched in the development of team chemistry.

All of that was mentioned Sunday when K-State athletics director John Currie blasted a mammoth home run in assuring that it would be Martin who could carry the map for the path of the Wildcats' basketball future.

The move, Currie said, "…signifies our confidence in him, his and Anya's (Martin's wife) long-term commitment to K-State and perhaps most importantly, demonstrates K-State's determination to achieve our vision of becoming a model intercollegiate athletics program. Which includes, championship athletic performances in the Big 12 and nationally."

All of that was the hope three seasons ago when Bob Huggins bolted from K-State, and Marin was elevated as head coach, plus his staff of Dalonte Hill, Brad Underwood, Matt Figger, plus strength and conditioning coach Scott Greenawalt, were retained.

For many, the applause at the time was back-handed. Afterall, in part, the decision was made to assure that Michael Beasley, and Bill Walker, and Jacob Pullen, and Dominique Sutton, and Jamar Samuels, and the rest, would all keep their word to wear the Purple and White.

But the questions were real. This Martin guy can recruit, but can he X and O it? Heck … he had not been a head coach since the B.T. Washington High School days, and that was as recent as 2000.

He even used the phrase of "unknown commodity" yesterday in describing himself three years ago, but added such appreciation for the "loyalty" of the Wildcat players who "followed my lead."

"We heard it," admitted Hill, who now serves as Martin's associate head coach. "We knew we could do it, but we also knew, and understood, how we had to go out and prove it."

And, they did.

The nation's No. 1 recruiting class stayed true to Martin/K-State, and now three seasons later, 67 W's, including 30 in the Big 12, advertise that, yes, Xing and Oing it is not a problem.

With the exception of some colorful heat of battle verbal rants and stomps, Martin has been Currie's "model" coach with community service, devotion to his Catholic background, a worst-to-first team graduation rate of 75 percent that ranks highest of all Big 12 schools, and, the mentioned 22 wins per year, with 10 of those in Big 12 play.

Sunday, Martin's words and actions with those of a champion.

Filled with words that could not find their way out of the emotional Martin for nearly a minute as he sat aside Currie at the press conference, Martin first thanked his wife for joining him six years ago so he could "chase my dream."

As he sat fighting back tears, one knew he was thinking of his meager past, as he said, when he first made nickels and dimes "… selling newspaper ads and being a pool hall change boy at the age of 12."

He met with players prior to the announcement to thank them for "… believing in me and being loyal to me." Martin fully understands that contracts that carry a $1.5 million price tag only come via talented players.

But do you know what? Except for a nicer lifestyle, Martin speaks from his heart when he says he would be just as happy, and just as fulfilled, touching the lives of young teenagers as a high school coach making $40,000 as he is today with young guys entering adulthood. Frank Martin's background truly is Kansas State-like. It is grass roots.

Martin has lived with the philosophy of, "If you try to do the right things, good things will happen to you."

Now, those good things will happen at Kansas State where Martin said yesterday, "My work is not done. I've grown in these first three years, and now it's time that we continue to grow together."

Together with the characteristics that have made K-State, K-State. The things that made K-State with Tex Winter and Jack Hartman, and with the Wildcat values of Bill Snyder and Deb Patterson, and now with Frank Martin.

As he said, "I'm around people with honesty and loyalty. I'm around people with the same values as mine."

The values of Kansas Staters … past and present.

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