UT basketball coach Cuonzo Martin talks about his coaching staff
Martin said Tuesday that he’s promoting former UT coordinator of video scouting Houston Fancher to director of basketball operations, and he confirmed the hiring of former Nebraska assistant coach Tracy Webster.
“Houston is our man; he’s done a great job for us, and he’s the guy who knows the lay of the land better than anybody,’’ Martin said when asked about the previously vacant director of basketball operations position. “The best thing is (Fancher) has been a head coach, so he understands what I’m going through and thinking.
“Same thing with Tracy Webster; he’s been a (interim) head coach at DePaul.’’
Fancher, a 45-year-old Newport native, served as coach at Appalachian State from 2000-2009 before resigning from that post and joining UT’s staff two years ago as a graduate assistant.
“I wanted a job where I could make a difference, and one I could be excited about coming to work every day,’’ Fancher said of his promotion. “My family and I feel at home here, and we feel honored to be a part of Coach Martin’s first staff.’’
Webster, 39, is the third and final assistant coach on the UT staff, joining Jon Harris and Kent Williams, who followed Martin from Missouri State.
“Tracy is a guy that coached with me at Purdue, we played against each other in college, and he’s one of the better recruiters in the country,’’ said Martin, who played at Purdue (1991-95) while Webster was earning All-Big Ten honors as a point guard at Wisconsin (1991-94). “You want to have guys that know you and that you can trust, and you want guys that are good as well.’’
Martin said that Thursday is the first day he can get out recruiting, and that his first stops will be to see UT recruits Kevin Ware and Chris Jones.
Ware, a 6-foot-4 guard from Rockdale County High School in Conyers, Ga., asked for and was granted a release from his National Letter of Intent last week.
Jones, of Melrose High School in Memphis, has requested a release, too. Jones, ranked No. 39 by Rivals.com, has yet to be released.
Ware, the No. 56-ranked player in the nation, said he’s looking forward to meeting Martin.
“I’m definitely excited, because I really haven’t gotten to know Coach Martin,’’ Ware said Tuesday night. “That’s the biggest thing in my eyes, just getting to know him. If I choose Tennessee, it will be because of my relationship with the head coach.
“If the relationship is good, I can definitely see myself at Tennessee again.’’
Ware has received a great deal of attention since being granted his release last week: Alabama, UCLA, Kentucky, Louisville, Georgetown, Florida State, Providence, South Carolina, Georgia and Central Florida all have shown interest.
The national spring signing period begins on April 13 and runs through May 18.
The Vols will sign anywhere between two and six players, depending on the futures of Scotty Hopson and Tobias Harris, who will test the NBA draft waters.