Florida State hiring former player, assistant Link Jarrett as new head baseball coach

Link Jarrett is coming home.

The Tallahassee native and former All-American shortstop at Florida State is set to become his alma mater’s new head baseball coach, sources confirmed to the Democrat before the university formally announced the hiring Friday.

FSU will formally introduce Jarrett at a press conference Monday morning.

Jarrett, 50, emerged as arguably the hottest coach on the market this cycle after leading the Irish to their third College World Series appearance in program history. Notre Dame’s postseason run – which included a stunning super regional upset of No. 1 Tennessee – ended Tuesday with a 5-1 loss to Texas A&M.

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Then the Seminoles moved quickly on Jarrett, their top target throughout the hiring process.

"It has been an absolute privilege to represent Notre Dame, which truly is one of the finest academic and athletic institutions in the country," Jarrett said in a statement. "I want to thank Father (John) Jenkins, (athletic director) Jack Swarbrick, (deputy athletic director) Jody Sadler and the entire Notre Dame administration for all of their support during my time at Notre Dame.

"I want to thank all of our student-athletes for their tireless work ethic and dedication to our baseball program. Their accomplishments on and off the field are something I will cherish for the rest of my life. To the entire Notre Dame family and community, thank you for welcoming and supporting my family, you are truly first-class in every manner.

"I’m humbled to become the next head coach at Florida State. Having the opportunity to come home and lead this storied program is something I take great pride in. FSU is a special place to our family and I’m excited to be the next leader of Seminole baseball.

"Our goals will be simple – to achieve on the field, in the classroom and embrace the FSU family and community. I know the expectations from our fans and we expect to compete for ACC and national championships."

Link Jarrett replaces his former teammate, Mike Martin Jr., as FSU's baseball coach

Jarrett will replace his former college teammate and roommate, Mike Martin Jr. FSU fired Martin on June 10 before the fourth and final year of his contract.

Martin succeeded his father, the legendary Martin Sr. who is still the all-time winningest coach in Division I college baseball history and led the Seminoles to 17 College World Series appearances. Jarrett, who claimed the Mike Martin Coach of the Year award this season, will be the first person outside of the Martin family to be FSU's head baseball coach since 1979.

“I think that Link is the finest coach in the game today, and that opinion is held by many in college baseball. We could not be more pleased that he will be leading our program,” Seminole athletic director Michael Alford said in a statement. “He has been a proven winner at each of his coaching stops.

“His teams have not only posted historically successful seasons, but they have also mirrored Link’s tradition of running a first-class program. He is well-known for his record of developing players everywhere he has coached.

“He’s a Seminole through and through and there is no question that he will dedicate himself to the success of our student-athletes and his team. I know he is excited to be returning home and we are just as excited to welcome him and his family.”

In his three seasons with FSU, Martin Jr. accumulated the worst winning percentage (.588) in program history. The Seminoles failed to reach the NCAA Super Regionals in back-to-back seasons, 2021 and 2022, for just the second time since 1986.

Before Jarrett’s arrival in 2019, the Irish had never advanced to the super regionals in back-to-back seasons. In Jarrett’s two full seasons, Notre Dame reached the super regionals (2021) and College World Series (2022). The Irish also boasted a .728 winning percentage (86-32) during that three-year span, which ranked fourth nationally.

FSU is hiring Jarrett in hopes that he will carry that success with him. The Florida High product certainly knows what winning in Tallahassee looks like. He guided the Seminoles to three College World Series appearances in 1991, 1992 and 1994 and still holds the NCAA record for career assists (802). Jarrett also holds the program records for consecutive games played (235) and at-bats (989).

After his FSU playing career ended, Jarrett heard his name called by the Colorado Rockies in the 22nd round of the 1994 MLB Draft. He spent five years playing for their minor league affiliates before transitioning to coaching baseball.

Jarrett served as an assistant for Flagler College (1999-2001), FSU (2003), Mercer (2004-05), East Carolina (2006-09) and Auburn (2010-2012) before receiving his first head coaching job in UNC Greensboro (2013-2019). The Spartans accomplished enough under Jarrett that he garnered interest from the Seminoles during their head coaching search in 2019.

This time, FSU did not pass on hiring him.

“We're thrilled to welcome Link Jarrett back to his alma mater,” FSU President Richard McCullough said in a statement. “His proven and outstanding track record as a head coach makes him an excellent choice to lead our storied baseball program.”

Jarrett receives a seven-year deal

While Martin Jr. received a four-year contract to begin his tenure, Jarrett has agreed to a seven-year deal, per a letter of understanding signed by Alford and Jarrett that was shared with the Democrat.

Jarrett will be paid $875,000 his first two years, $925,000 the next two years, $975,000 for years five and six and then $1 million for the seventh and final year of the deal. The base salary adds up to $6.5 million over the life of his seven-year contract.

That figure is a notable raise from Martin Jr.'s contract, which paid him an average of $400,000 over four years, of which he only got three.

If Jarrett terminated his contract in the first year of his deal, he would owe $700,000 to FSU, a number that gradually scales down to no buyout in the final year of the deal. The LOU also states that he will receive a $25,000 signing bonus to help with his move to Tallahassee and $450,000 for his two assistant coaches and an additional staff position.

Reach Carter Karels at ckarels@gannett.com or follow him on Twitter @CarterKarels.

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This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: FSU baseball hiring Notre Dame's Link Jarrett as new head coach