A day after his suspension for verbally attacking a player during Tuesday's loss to top-ranked Florida, University of South Carolina head basketball coach Frank Martin apologized for his actions.
Martin spoke publicly about the incident and subsequent suspension for the first time Friday afternoon.
"Regretfully I'm sitting here in front of you right now after first and foremost embarrassing my family, my former players, my present players," said Martin. "[I'm] extremely disappointed in my ignorant actions that have impacted our team in a negative way."
"As soon as the game ended I was uncomfortable with what happened," said Martin who mentioned he called athletics director Ray Tanner to discuss the incident the next day during a recruiting trip.
Tanner suspended Martin for Saturday's game at Mississippi State after he verbally abused Duane Notice in the second half of the Tuesday's game. An ESPN camera caught Martin chewing the guard out using language that was sprinkled with four letter words.
"My passion for people is my greatest asset," said Martin. "That passion also becomes a weakness at times and I gotta' work at that everyday."
Earlier this season, Martin apologized to guard Brenton Williams after another similar outburst.
Martin says he agrees with Tanner's decision to suspend him. "I fully, fully support Ray Tanner's decision in this," said Martin. "He acted like the great leader that he is. He didn't act based on one situation...I couldn't be more thankful that he's my boss."
"I created this," said Martin. "Nobody created this for me. I don't speak like that 24 hours of the day. There might be 12 seconds of the day that something comes out that it shouldn't. I've gotta work on that 12 seconds."
"I don't let my players swear," said Martin. "When they swear in my presence, I'm not happy. I gave up swearing my last season at Kansas State."
When asked if he and Tanner discussed what would happen if something like this takes place in the future, Martin said they had not. "We didn't go there," Martin said.
"'I'm sorry' is a powerful two words and if you use it over and over again, it loses its steam," said Martin. "I can't force people to like me, but I've gotta respect this university."
Martin said he is disappointed that he will not be joining his team in Starkville Saturday. "It's gonna' be hard tomorrow to know that they're going in there and I'm not there for them," he said.
Martin also said his son was disappointed that they would not be making the trip to the game. "Seeing my 6-year-old son cry this morning hurt."
Instead, Martin said he would travel to Tennessee with his family for his daughter's cheer competition.
When Martin was hired by USC, he said he was going to work on cleaning up his language after complaints by his wife.
Associate head coach Matt Figger will serve as acting head coach when the Gamecocks (11-19, 4-13 SEC) take on the Bulldogs (13-17, 3-14 SEC) in the final regular season game of the year. Game time is set for 4 p.m. ET.
Martin will resume his coaching duties next week before the Gamecocks compete in the Southeastern Conference tournament.
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