Tennessee hires Cuonzo Martin to replace Bruce Pearl as men's basketball coach

Missouri State head coach Cuonzo Martin celebrates after defeating Wichita State in an NCAA college basketball game to clinch the Missouri Valley Conference title at JQH Arena in Springfield, Mo., on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011.

Photo by Nathan Papes, Springfield News-Leader

Missouri State head coach Cuonzo Martin celebrates after defeating Wichita State in an NCAA college basketball game to clinch the Missouri Valley Conference title at JQH Arena in Springfield, Mo., on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011.

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Former Missouri State University coach Cuonzo Martin has been hired as Tennessee’s basketball coach, UT announced this evening.

He will be introduced at a news conference at 2:30 p.m. Monday.

Martin, 39, compiled a 61-41 record in three seasons as Missouri State’s coach (2008-2011) and was named Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year this season. The Bears finished the 2010-2011 season 26-9 and won the school’s first Missouri Valley Conference regular-season title.

Martin is a finalist for two national coaching awards this season: the Hugh Durham National Coach of the Year Award, which honors the top mid-major coach, and the Ben Jobe Award, which honors the top minority head coach in Division I. Both awards are to be presented during Final Four weekend.

“Cuonzo is among the most promising young coaches in the game, and we are excited about the coaching ability, toughness and energy that he brings to our program,” Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton said in a statement released by the school. “He has a proven track record of success as a head coach at Missouri State and an assistant at Purdue as well as an outstanding career as a college basketball player.”

Martin, a Purdue graduate, averaged 18.4 points per game for the Boilermakers as a senior in 1994-95 and earned All-Big Ten honors while Purdue won the Big Ten championship.

Martin set the Purdue school record for 3-pointers made in a single game (8) in an NCAA tournament Sweet Sixteen game against Kansas on March 24, 1994, at Thompson-Boling Arena. The Boilermakers won that game to advance to the Elite Eight.

He was selected with the 57th overall pick in the 1995 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks and played professionally for four years, including stints with the Vancouver Grizzles, Milwaukee Bucks and Grand Rapids Hoops of the Continental Basketball Association. He also was team captain and leading scorer for the Felize Scandone team in Avellino, Italy, in 1997.

In November 1997, Martin was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and returned to the United States for treatment of a malignant tumor between his heart and lungs. He received his last treatment on April 20, 1998, and now is in full remission.

In 2008, Martin served as a spokesman for the inaugural Purdue Center for Cancer Research Challenge for cancer research, which attracted more than 1,000 runners and walkers to Ross-Ade Stadium and raised more than $30,000 for cancer research at Purdue. The Cuonzo Martin Challenge Award was established in his honor.

Martin, a native of East St. Louis, Ill., and his wife, Roberta, have two sons, Joshua and Chase, and a daughter, Addison.

Missouri State finished 11-20 in 2008-09 and improved to 24-12 in 2009-10.

His teams were 36-3 at home over the past two seasons, and the three home losses were by a combined total of five points.

Missouri State was the top seed in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament and was upset by Indiana State in the tournament’s title game.

The Bears beat Murray State 89-76 in the first round of the NIT and lost to Miami 81-72 in the second round.

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Comments » 665

ScrewKiffin writes:

Hamilton is on crack!!!!!

wbsmd1 writes:

Another sad day for UT

Razor784 writes:

I'll keep it short, this STINKS! It's Jerry Green all over again. Still not renewing my season tix.

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

stevefrommemphis writes:

OK, all the best. Beat Kentucky!!!

hep writes:

terrible hire, guys!

ImaGATORmyGirlfriendsaVOL writes:

Who????

Ironcity writes:

Purdue guy. I think this is an interesting hire. I like the style of Purdue but I really haven't paid much attention to Mizz St.. I know they lost to us in the NIT. I wonder what the players will think?

westknoxrepub writes:

Fun Fact. . .UT now has the only coach in the SEC who has never been to an NCAA tournament as a head coach.

VOLinMAHWAH writes:

Who?

Hacker38 writes:

Missouri State....LOL So much for the Stars...

utjunkie writes:

Who is this guy? I've never even heard of him. Tell me this is a joke.

kdaff51 writes:

Unfreaking believeable!

BigVolinCarolina writes:

I told all of you that UT had no hopes of hiring a "big time" coach.

I remember Martin when he played at Purdue. Tough and hard-nosed. Hope he can coach!

Wishing for the best....but holding my breath.

peyton4prez writes:

Got to get behind Cuenzo. Anyone who doesn't is a fair weather fan.

skyhawk836 writes:

Cue all the message board AD's and their angry indignation.

Volalumnus writes:

Who is running our AD?
Our rivals boosters?
really?

osbymartin#581730 writes:

Once again the "doom and gloom" squad comes out. Let the man coach a game at UT before the chicken little Vol fans see the sky falling...

vol88 writes:

I support the coach. We are UT. GBO!

Tippet writes:

Well, this is interesting. Atleast I wont have to leave the house an hour before the game starts to beat traffic. Someone must have some connections, or we got turned down by a lot of people first. Maybe were trying to become Vandy or Illinois 'Oh Boy'. Since those guys all coached under the same coach who barely went .500.

Razor784 writes:

The rest of the SEC has to be laughing hard right now

uttcut writes:

Will support him as our coach, but I don't understand this hire

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

mcvol75 writes:

What an absolute joke! This is the coach? This guy? What the heck makes him qualified to be the BB coach at UT? Good call Hammy! Why wait around til the end of the tourney to even make a run at a more qualified guy. Let's just hire the first guy to accept the job. You should have called me first.

Volalumnus writes:

I think the AD must be trying to fan the flames of his firing.

10CVOL writes:

Hamilton has got to go.....he needs fired tomorrow.

peyton4prez writes:

in response to hep:

terrible hire, guys!

Billy Donnaven was 41-26 at Marshall before going to Florida and id be willing to bet some idiot down there said the same thing you did. Please stop posting moron.

skyhawk836 writes:

in response to peyton4prez:

Got to get behind Cuenzo. Anyone who doesn't is a fair weather fan.

Exactly. But, read this thread for a few hours. We don't know him from Adam's housecat, therefore, he must be horrible, and he will be crucified here.

teach_them_all writes:

OMG ok Hamilton pack your bags. I only hope is contract is not for long!! What another Joke for UT

bloodhound writes:

I guess I'm a fair weather fan and this doesn't spell fair weather for a UT fan. Looks like clouds and rain for the Big Orange. I hope they didn't spend much on this one! What a joke!

orangeJACKET writes:

awesome. at least i will save some cash on the four season tickets that i've had since the arena's been built, that i won't renew.

westknoxrepub writes:

He doesn't have a solid resume', but he's not as bland or boring as Rick Byrd, and he did beat Gregg Marshall twice this year. . .still, when 11 other schools in the SEC have coaches who have made the NCAA tournament and we don't, it's a bitter pill to swallow.

basketballfever writes:

WTH? FIRE HAMILTON...bring in Fulmer to regain some respect to our athletic department.

brokebackvol writes:

FIRE HAMILTON!!

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

This does not surprise me. All the talk about Byrd and Smart and it seems to me at this point MH and Jimmy just had to get a coach, any coach, ASAP. I feel sorry for Vol fans who wanted a permanent cure for the problems at hand.

Maybe it's a bandaid fix, or maybe the experts who hire coaches know something everyone else does not.

I do wonder about the thinking..........is it a panic hire????????

ETownVol writes:

Good heavens... panic hire.

Mr_Bandman writes:

Why the desperation hire? This isn't the Dooley situation where National Signing Day was staring us in the face--why not wait until the tournament is over and see if we can pull in someone with some proven chops? I guarantee this is about money---they don't want to spend the money for a big name. Very disappointing.

redskinvol1 writes:

We just threw in the white towel.Oh well,basketball was fun while it lasted.

Volalumnus writes:

in response to mcvol75:

What an absolute joke! This is the coach? This guy? What the heck makes him qualified to be the BB coach at UT? Good call Hammy! Why wait around til the end of the tourney to even make a run at a more qualified guy. Let's just hire the first guy to accept the job. You should have called me first.

Don't be fooled, if they did hire you, there is a group here that would be your fan for no other reason.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

He doesn't have a solid resume', but he's not as bland or boring as Rick Byrd, and he did beat Gregg Marshall twice this year. . .still, when 11 other schools in the SEC have coaches who have made the NCAA tournament and we don't, it's a bitter pill to swallow.

Strike that, Kennedy's never been.

jk12647#419081 writes:

Mike Hamilton is doomed-worst AD in TN history. What's the big hurry to hire a new BB coach-Cuonzo Martin????He is another Wade Houston, without the son! What is/was Hamilton and the rest of the "mysterious" decision makers thinking? Not the big name, big time man to lift the program to the next level. I am a large donor and will not continue supporting the men's athletic department until this bozo Mike Hamilton is removed.

charlyand#601962 writes:

in response to peyton4prez:

Got to get behind Cuenzo. Anyone who doesn't is a fair weather fan.

hope he has a halo. God knows, nothing else will do.

SEC1 writes:

Thanks hammy you want be satisfied until ut's name is changed to the tennessee catfish because you are on the verge of having ut bottom feeders in both football & basketball.. DD DOUBLE D'S dooley will have tn football sagging like a pair of DD'S ... Now you go hire the second coming of jerry green .... this guy can't out coach cal or billy d

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

in response to Mr_Bandman:

Why the desperation hire? This isn't the Dooley situation where National Signing Day was staring us in the face--why not wait until the tournament is over and see if we can pull in someone with some proven chops? I guarantee this is about money---they don't want to spend the money for a big name. Very disappointing.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but UT has the highest grossing Athletic Dept in the nation.... I really can't see how money was an object here. I quite frankly don't understand this hire at all, but, hey, he's our coach now and needs our support.

JOHNWARD4EVER writes:

considering the potential troubles ahead,welcome aboard,buckle up,hang on!!God Bless BIG ORANGE COUNTRY!!!

milchkine writes:

Time to deflate all the basketballs and put them up!

FolxyWhite writes:

This is a joke, right?

tdvol1989 writes:

No need to go off on the decision. WAY too early to say this is not a good hire. It looks like Hamilton tried to find the next big thing. Maybe he did.

I prefer an unknown over someone I KNOW would do a fair job at best...Byrd.

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

in response to SEC1:

Thanks hammy you want be satisfied until ut's name is changed to the tennessee catfish because you are on the verge of having ut bottom feeders in both football & basketball.. DD DOUBLE D'S dooley will have tn football sagging like a pair of DD'S ... Now you go hire the second coming of jerry green .... this guy can't out coach cal or billy d

Two words...Butler Bulldogs....moving on.

volnasty writes:

in response to peyton4prez:

Got to get behind Cuenzo. Anyone who doesn't is a fair weather fan.

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

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