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.