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ESPN’s “Journalism Showcase” – March 2, 2018

Frank Martin has earned recognition as a successful college basketball coach, including taking the South Carolina Gamecocks to last year’s Final Four. But on Sunday’s SC Featured segment on the 8 a.m. ET SportsCenter, a little-known story about Martin will be told on television for the first time.

In “Miracle in Manhattan,” Martin will discuss his sudden recovery in 2006 from a near death in a Manhattan, Kansas, hospital room. Martin says he is alive today because of a Guardian Angel.

Kristen Lappas, who produced the piece for ESPN Features, first heard of Martin’s story through a mutual acquaintance and two years ago she placed a call to Martin’s wife, Anya.

“I explained to her what SC Featured was, and that we wanted to share Frank’s story,” she said.

Anya Martin told Lappas she and Frank had only talked about it once publicly, with a Kansas newspaper writer in 2010, and never on camera. “I said if you’re ever in a place where you want to share your story, please reach out,” Lappas said.

And then in January of this year, Lappas received a surprising phone call: the Martins were ready. So production began on the feature in early February.

Lappas realizes some may find Martin’s story to be unbelievable.

“We had a lot of talks before we started filming this about what this story is trying to do and what faith is to different people,” she said. “We’re not saying this is 100 percent what we believe is true, but we’re just telling you this story about what one man and his family believe to be true and how those events have affected their lives and spiritually have changed them. And I think that’s really powerful. If that can inspire somebody in any way, then I think that’s a story worth telling.”

Nashville, TN – March 10, 2017 – Bridgestone Arena: Coach Frank Martin of the University of South Carolina Gamecocks during the 2017 SEC Men’s College Basketball Tournament (Photo by Allen Kee / ESPN Images)


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