One Nación 287d

Frank Martin is now the lone Hispanic Division I basketball coach

And then there was one.

When the University of South Florida fired head coach Orlando Antigua this week, the move left only Frank Martin, the son of Cuban exiles, as the lone Latino coaching a major Division I basketball program.

Martin, who has been the head coach at the University of South Carolina since 2012, has posted a winning record with the school since the start of the 2014-15 season. The Gamecocks went to the NIT tournament in 2016, losing in the second round. Martin's team last season also tied the school record for most wins. His current squad is 10-3. In 2016, South Carolina inked Martin to a four-year contract extension.

"Our program has taken tremendous strides under Frank," Ray Tanner, South Carolina athletic director, declared in a statement.

Antigua, who was born in the Dominican Republic, had not fared as well during his tenure at South Florida, which began in 2014. In that time, he posted a 23-55 overall record. The Bulls' program is also currently under investigation for academic fraud.

"A decision has been made to make a head coaching change," South Florida athletic director Mark Harlan wrote Tuesday in a letter to program supporters.

Even while at different programs, both Antigua and Martin shared a common dream -- to see more Hispanics involved in college basketball's top ranks.

It's unclear when that will happen, however, and none of the early candidates to replace Antigua are Latino.

More players of Hispanic origin or descent are taking part in basketball. Stars such as Al Horford and Karl-Anthony Towns serve as role models for a new generation of Latino athletes, but that increased participation among players isn't yet reflected in the top ranks of NCAA basketball coaching.

It wasn't too long ago Martin was optimistic the number of Hispanic head coaches would grow with the positive example of himself and Antigua. "Orlando and I have an opportunity of opening some doors," Martin told ESPN.

With Antigua's firing, that representation is now down to just Martin.

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Editor's note: Jim Larrañaga, Miami's head coach who has over 600 wins, also identifies as Hispanic. Larrañaga's grandfather was born in Cuba.

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