Miraculous Sweetest Sixteen Story

This evening Frank Martin will coach his Kansas State Wildcats against Xavier in Salt Lake City as both teams seek to advance to the Final Four in the NCAA Basketball Tournament. According to this KC Star article, titled A real Manhattan miracle: Frank Martin recalls his brush with death, Coach Martin owes his life to a bit of divine intervention. Here are a few clips from the article:

Frank Martin fell ill in 2006 shortly after he arrived in Manhattan, Kan., to be one of Bob Huggins’ assistant coaches.
From his hospital bed, Martin had insisted that his wife return home to be there for their daughter’s first birthday. He had assured Anya he would be fine if she went. But when she turned on her cell phone a day later, the frantic voice said otherwise.

“He called back in complete tears, saying, ‘They just told me I’m going to die,’ ” Anya said.
Information about what was happening to him trickled in. He had ulcers, and they had penetrated his intestinal wall. There was an infection. His pancreatic numbers were warped. His pancreas could fail. He was facing organ failure. His temperature was now 105.

The bad news kept coming.

His liver had shut down. He’d contracted pneumonia.

“There were a lot of moments,” he said, “where I didn’t think I was coming through the other side.”

Then they told him he had pancreatic cancer.
A horrifying diagnosis, all but a death sentence, would mean Martin would not become the Wildcats’ head coach when Huggins left for West Virginia. He would not hear the taunts that his promotion was a joke and a farce. He would not prove everyone wrong, would not lead his team to Oklahoma City four years later as a legitimate Final Four contender, would not see his little girl start to grow up, watch his son in Miami become a man or ever know he was destined to have another son.
It was in the midst of this grief that Joe Perez-Jones, Martin’s uncle and godfather — the man who helped raise Martin after his father left home — stepped from the hospital room into the hallway. Behind him, Martin’s body trembled, his temperature had roared to 105 degrees and his skin had turned a deep, sickly yellow.

To this day, Perez-Jones does not know if the woman was an actual nurse or an angel of God. What he feels certain of is she represented a miracle.
“This small Asian nurse came up to me,” Perez-Jones said. “And she says, ‘Father, we need to go in and pray for whoever’s in there. Who is in there?’

“It’s my nephew and godson,” he remembered saying. “But I’m not a father.”

“Oh, yes, you are,” the woman said. “In God’s eyes.”

Perez-Jones cannot tell this without crying.

The woman had a plan: She would get on her knees before Martin and pray. Perez-Jones would lay his hands on his nephew. And their faith would save him.

Frank Martin does not remember what followed. He only knows that one moment he was waiting for death and a few days later he had a second chance at life. Perez-Jones does not know if what followed was an emotional reaction, a metaphysical miracle or perhaps both. Martin’s wife and mother couldn’t tell you how the man they loved was saved.

Only one thing is certain: What happened in that room would alter the course of Martin’s life by teaching him to love life, put work in perspective and become the kind of man — the kind who knows what a second chance feels like — to bring a lesser miracle to Kansas State’s basketball program.


  1. What a great story. I'm still going to cheer for my alma mater, but if K-State wins I won't be as upset as I normally would be. :)

  2. With this marvelous story and thinking of our daughter Jill's experience with near death, I can only say with tears of joy ~~ Praise God we have a miracle answering Father, and how precious and needful prayer is!!!

    We have a friend near death right now with a brain tumor....will you say a prayer for him too?

  3. A friend at work whose girlfriend has been battling cancer and catastrophic issues for a couple of years now, crashed on Tuesday. They told him 85% of her brain was dead. Her pastor came and prayed along with some others. Slowly, almost all brain areas were revived. The doctor said "I need to get back to church". She is now paralyzed and has an infant mentality, but the brain is working for her to mend.

  4. Great story, so glad I clicked on your blog to see it.


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