Cuonzo Martin rounds out staff with Marco Harris; longtime friend 'like a brother'

First-year Tennessee men’s basketball coach Cuonzo Martin completed his staff on Tuesday with the hiring of his lifelong friend, Marco Harris, to the new position of student-athlete welfare coordinator.

The position replaces the position of assistant to the head coach, which Mark Pancratz held last season. Pancratz was hired as coordinator of video scouting on Friday.

Martin said Harris is “like a brother to me,’’ as the two have a relationship that dates back more than 30 years to when they were growing up together in East St. Louis, Ill.

Harris will supervise UT players in the classroom and in the community while also serving as the liaison to the Thornton Athletics Student Life Center as well as the housing, admissions and financial aid offices.

Last season, Harris coached at Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa, Okla., taking over as interim varsity coach from January to March. Harris led the school to a second consecutive OSSAA state title, as it finished 21-0 to extend a 25-game win streak that dates back to the 2010 season when Harris was an assistant coach with the program.

Harris began his collegiate athletic career playing baseball at Southern Illinois University before transferring to Southwestern Oklahoma State to play basketball. He developed into the starting point guard at SWOSU from 1992-94 and also served as a team captain.

“He’s got a genuine passion for developing young men and making sure they reach their full potential on and off the court,’’ Martin said in a UT release. “His years of experience working in public school systems demonstrate that he’s drawn to helping young people meet life’s challenges and overcome adversity.”

Harris’ background includes work outside the coaching ranks, too, as he has owned and operated a Subway restaurant in Sand Springs, Okla., since 1999. He also has held various teaching, coaching and athletic administration positions over the past two decades.

In 2005, Harris served as assistant basketball coach at Nathan Hale Magnet High School in Tulsa. As an AAU coach Harris led the Tulsa Titans from 2004-06 as well as the “Playing with a Purpose” program from 2006-09. His 2008 “Playing with a Purpose” squad captured the Mid America Youth Basketball (MAYB) National Championship.

Harris’ experience at the administrative level includes a stint as the athletic director at Tulsa’s Monroe and Gilcrease Middle Schools from 2000-05. In 1995-96, Harris worked with St. Louis Arc, helping mentally disabled young men and women develop work and life skills.

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Comments » 22

samvol writes:

Okay Vols...let get ballin....

GoZO....

FearlessFreep writes:

Was wondering if basketball would get an Andre Lott-type of position. Why is it not called the same thing (VFL Coordinator) though?

This kind of position will be the norm in athletic departments moving forward.

Colliervol writes:

in response to FormerMarine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'll bait one of them for you. Just as Coach Martin has done, I think Vanderbilt should have an Athletic Department Welfare Coordinator too. Let's consider how much Welfare the SEC has doled out to them over the years. That would no doubt be a full time job.

voloffaith writes:

in response to Colliervol:

I'll bait one of them for you. Just as Coach Martin has done, I think Vanderbilt should have an Athletic Department Welfare Coordinator too. Let's consider how much Welfare the SEC has doled out to them over the years. That would no doubt be a full time job.

KAplash........the sound of cymbals after a very guuuud funny jab at Peabody.

On topic, staff looks good so we wait til fall for real deal as Rocky Top league is just a warmup.

mtnbikrtn writes:

Former VOL Robert Meachem played at Booker T. Washington in Tulsa. Welcome to K-Town from T-Town.

born2ride writes:

in response to FormerMarine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You can't win in the SEC with MVC level talent.

Martin is nice guy and a hard worker but he is in over his head. Hiring Martin was another of Hamilton's mistakes.

JMO

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to born2ride:

You can't win in the SEC with MVC level talent.

Martin is nice guy and a hard worker but he is in over his head. Hiring Martin was another of Hamilton's mistakes.

JMO

Former Marine and other real Vols,

There's your answer Former M.

Front and center steps the troll. We can just about bet on every post there will be at least one troll.

whatthe84 writes:

Time will tell if he is over his head or not. Mike Hamilton was not a very good AD and that is an understatement. He demolished the FB program, now the basketball team is in disarray and the baseball team is in flux as well... way to go Mike. Cuonzo will hopefully build on what was begun with Pearl if the penalties are not just too much. I believe in helping old friends but this seems a little jacked up to me. He was an assist. high school coach, and he owned a Subway...are you kidding me? I know he is not listed as a x's and o's guy, but wow. I guess we will just have to wait and see and hope for the best. Go vols.

TennVol01 writes:

I am not a troll. I would just challenge "lifelong-friend Marco Harris" resume. Sounds like a nice person, but is he really qualified for big time college basketball? Guess we will find out next season. I have heard nothing but compliments from players about Coach Martin, so I will initially trust his hires.

87UTVOL writes:

in response to born2ride:

You can't win in the SEC with MVC level talent.

Martin is nice guy and a hard worker but he is in over his head. Hiring Martin was another of Hamilton's mistakes.

JMO

And, Billy Donovan was young assistant at mid-major Marshall (I saw him coach there). Who knew he would be a big time winner and national champ at Florida? No one, until the Gators hired him. Zo has as good or better a background than Donovan when he went to Gainesville.

One thing I like is Coach Zo and every one of his staff were oustanding players (most were all conference, record setters) and team captains...LEADERS. I believe this staff will relate well to recruits and make our team better. There's no question they will be demanding.

I don't if these guys can coach at the SEC level and no one else does either. But, I am sure as heck going to cheer for them to be successful. That's better than sitting around running down the coaches and team.

GO VOLS!

OwensboroVol writes:

We should hire this guy as AD after all he has experience as the AD at Tulsa's Monroe and Gilcrease Middle Schools. I may have been wrong about Martin not hiring People who could compete in the SEC. With that kind of experience I am clearly wrong. By the way, did Bruce Pearl ever hire his best friend with that kind of experience?

cdldoc#211897 writes:

This opportunity won't last long so he better give jobs to all his family memebers.

LiveFaith writes:

CCM's value will not be indicated very much until he gets to coach this years avg looking talent, and the next recruiting class. This class was a write-off the day he was hired.

One immediate bad @ hiring a mid-major guy is that he's probably not tight with a lot of 5* talent to bring with him. He filled slots with pedestrian looking types (hope I'm wrong) in this class. His next and especially 3rd will be a better barometer as a recruiter.

The guy has certainly coached em' up. Remember, he nearly beat us in TBA last year. Not that we were Duke, but we were pretty loaded and had no biz letting Mizz State hang around. I expect him to compete well on the court in the SEC.

I hope his next two classes that he and staff are fortunate to land a few beasts, and they can keep them in school for a few yrs.

I really like this guy and hope he succeeds.

FeelVol writes:

in response to 87UTVOL:

And, Billy Donovan was young assistant at mid-major Marshall (I saw him coach there). Who knew he would be a big time winner and national champ at Florida? No one, until the Gators hired him. Zo has as good or better a background than Donovan when he went to Gainesville.

One thing I like is Coach Zo and every one of his staff were oustanding players (most were all conference, record setters) and team captains...LEADERS. I believe this staff will relate well to recruits and make our team better. There's no question they will be demanding.

I don't if these guys can coach at the SEC level and no one else does either. But, I am sure as heck going to cheer for them to be successful. That's better than sitting around running down the coaches and team.

GO VOLS!

Thanks couldn't have said it better myself.

Voluvr writes:

Don't hire anyone you can't fire.

DoctorSax writes:

in response to 87UTVOL:

And, Billy Donovan was young assistant at mid-major Marshall (I saw him coach there). Who knew he would be a big time winner and national champ at Florida? No one, until the Gators hired him. Zo has as good or better a background than Donovan when he went to Gainesville.

One thing I like is Coach Zo and every one of his staff were oustanding players (most were all conference, record setters) and team captains...LEADERS. I believe this staff will relate well to recruits and make our team better. There's no question they will be demanding.

I don't if these guys can coach at the SEC level and no one else does either. But, I am sure as heck going to cheer for them to be successful. That's better than sitting around running down the coaches and team.

GO VOLS!

Actually, Donovan was head coach at Marshall, not an assistant.

And as both a UT Grad and someone who works at Missouri State University, I can assure everyone that Martin was an excellent hire. He took a team that had nothing returning, and he eventually turned it into a conference-champion that was four points from winning the MVC tournament (because of a horrendous shooting day).

Outdated writes:

..a passion and experience for helping young men develop skills on and off the court..this is desperately needed at UT..
especially off the court..
Get started now Marco ..you've got your work cut out for you...
I like the way Martin is doing business...

tgiles1944#654264 writes:

Martin can do it.

OwensboroVol writes:

in response to amyinsparta:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I hope and pray that you are right. I don't have long left and one thing on my bucket list is going to see the Vols in the final four. My gut feeling is that He is in over his head and that we will be hiring a new coach in 3-4 years. This latest hire just doesn't look good at all, and that folks is just being honest.

UTByrd writes:

I believe each UT sport will have an added advantage when the All Sports Complex is completed. KNS, how about an update on it's completion date.

Go VOLS and LADY VOLS!!!!!

StuAberdeeneFan writes:

Cuonzo Martin got his buddy Harris in. Quivering resume. 2 star recruits Richardson & Washpun from Oklahoma & Iowa. Added to the list is no star Chievos from Illinois who was going to prep school due to one offer from St. Louis. Bet Coach Cal. is shaking in his shoes with the new era on the hill. Are we taking care of our buddies in the midwest or taking care of Rocky Top?

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