Cuonzo Martin won battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

Tennessee’s new basketball coach is a survivor. Literally.

Cuonzo Martin survived cancer in the late 1990s. And like his UT predecessor Bruce Pearl, Martin is a spokesman in the fight against the disease.

Martin was playing professional basketball in Italy in 1997 when he began suffering weight loss and fatigue.

The diagnosis was non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Martin told The St. Louis Post Dispatch last month he prayed “to let me see my son turn 18 years old.’’

Joshua Martin was 4 months old at the time. He’s 13 now.

Martin lost about 40 pounds during chemotherapy, but the cancer went into full remission. He was able to return to Purdue to finish his degree, after which coach Gene Keady hired him as an assistant in 2000.

Pearl is a spokesman for the OUTLIVE program, inspired by UT star Chris Lofton’s 2007 treatment and recovery from cancer.

Martin was a spokesman for the inaugural Purdue Center for Cancer Research Challenge in 2008, which raised $30,000. The Cuonzo Martin Challenge Award was established in his honor.

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Comments » 27

RockyTopRampage writes:

Not to be a jerk but this makes him a good coach and a respectable hire how exactly?

everydayisorange writes:

in response to RockyTopRampage:

Not to be a jerk but this makes him a good coach and a respectable hire how exactly?

If you only knew how much courage, strength, and perseverance it takes to overcome this terrible disease, then you would understand that this man will work his tale off to make this his job for keeps! With the attitude it takes to survive, when translated to the court, will make him an instant success! GBO!!! Don't let your hate of Hamilton cloud your judgement!

RockyTopRampage writes:

Not saying that he isn't strong or brave please don't get me wrong. But couldn't we have gotten someone a bit more basketball battle-tested? Why the rush?

VOLliven2it writes:

Nothing but kudos to someone who has fought the non-Hodkins lymphoma battle. I have a friend whose teenage daughter went through that. It is indeed a hard fight. Coach Martin will have another tough uphill battle as the UT men's head coach. I suggest that after we get over the shock of the Butler or VCU coaches not coming our way or other "Name" coaches, we give this guy a fair shot. Like him or not, like Hamilton Hires or not, he is now our head coach.

miketn6 writes:

Coach Martin deserves the chance and best of luck to him. Hamilton still needs to go.

JCforUTVols writes:

in response to RockyTopRampage:

Not saying that he isn't strong or brave please don't get me wrong. But couldn't we have gotten someone a bit more basketball battle-tested? Why the rush?

How many championships did coach K win before he got to Duke? Or Dean Smith before UNC? How did they become "established"? Someone gave them a shot. Mike Tomlin never coached a team before he went to Pittsburgh. A young "unestablished" defensive cordinator from Minnesota? Why? Two years later he wins the Super Bowl. I was a Bruce Pearl fan, I still am. I wish him all the luck and prayers. GBO!

VOLS_SEC_RULES writes:

in response to miketn6:

Coach Martin deserves the chance and best of luck to him. Hamilton still needs to go.

I agree completely.

bUTchVFL writes:

in response to RockyTopRampage:

Not to be a jerk but this makes him a good coach and a respectable hire how exactly?

I think the article's intent is tell us things about Martin's personal life. I don't think this is an endorsement for coach of the year.

illinoisvolfan writes:

in response to everydayisorange:

If you only knew how much courage, strength, and perseverance it takes to overcome this terrible disease, then you would understand that this man will work his tale off to make this his job for keeps! With the attitude it takes to survive, when translated to the court, will make him an instant success! GBO!!! Don't let your hate of Hamilton cloud your judgement!

Well said...

Go Gonzo for Cuonzo!!

theoldbear writes:

As a cancer survivor myself, I can identify with Coach Martin.

I think this is a good hire. But it was handled poorly, with leaks, rumors, false expectations and hope and dreams, AS WITH EVERY HIRE IN THE HAMILTON ERA!

Mike Hamilton appears to have been turned down more times that a Holiday Inn bedspread, and even his good hires are embarassing to the Big Orange Nation.

Even when he gets it right, he's wrong.

I've supported every coach Tennessee has ever had but one. And you know which one!

Let's get behind Coach Martin and see what he can do before we judge him as a coach or a person.

VolsToTheWall writes:

in response to RockyTopRampage:

Not to be a jerk but this makes him a good coach and a respectable hire how exactly?

it doesn't but it means that outlive thing just outlived the pearl era

hep writes:

in response to RockyTopRampage:

Not to be a jerk but this makes him a good coach and a respectable hire how exactly?

d_ck move on your part.

VOLunTEAR writes:

in response to RockyTopRampage:

Not to be a jerk but this makes him a good coach and a respectable hire how exactly?

The cancer survival does not speak to "Xs and Os", but it does speak to character, which may be what UT needs the MOST right now.

EMBuckles writes:

in response to RockyTopRampage:

Not saying that he isn't strong or brave please don't get me wrong. But couldn't we have gotten someone a bit more basketball battle-tested? Why the rush?

Although I respect Coach Martin and wish him all the best, right now, Tennessee is probably very fortunate to get anybody at all. Even so, Coach Martin sounds to me like a real warrior who can get Tennessee back into the NCAA tournament and take it all the way. May God continue to heal him and keep him free from cancer and may God bless his efforts as UT's head basketball coach. AMEN!

tnseamstress writes:

in response to VOLunTEAR:

The cancer survival does not speak to "Xs and Os", but it does speak to character, which may be what UT needs the MOST right now.

I agree with that...Non-Hodgkins lymphoma is terrible. I see nothing but upstanding information in what I found out about him. Coach Martin will earn his respect probably not by being flamboyant and taking his shirt off and painting himself orange, or dressing up as a cheerleader or doing a cheesy rap song....but with dignity and respect we hope. We do need someone with good character at this point and he seems to have it. I wish him well and will support the team. :)

thevoice writes:

in response to RockyTopRampage:

Not saying that he isn't strong or brave please don't get me wrong. But couldn't we have gotten someone a bit more basketball battle-tested? Why the rush?

Let's see your top 5 list. I can probably tell you why none are the right hire. Thanks to Pearl's mess left behind, the top battle-tested coaches won't touch the UT program with a 10ft pole, regardless of $$$$! Why would a "big-name" coach who's battled his way up half the ladder risk the balance of his career with the uncertainties looming at UT? And why is it so difficult to understand this is why we didn't get Shaka of Brad, etc.? I think we got the right man, at least I'm 100% behind him until he proves me wrong.

CrankE writes:

Since Martin is a lymphoma survivor it appears that, critical examination of his actual record and accomplishments as a head coach is not allowed.

Some of you apparently expect that UT's opponents will see it exactly the same way and have sympathy for the Vols in the punishment phase, on the court, and in seeding next year's tournament.

hep writes:

in response to CrankE:

Since Martin is a lymphoma survivor it appears that, critical examination of his actual record and accomplishments as a head coach is not allowed.

Some of you apparently expect that UT's opponents will see it exactly the same way and have sympathy for the Vols in the punishment phase, on the court, and in seeding next year's tournament.

Fitting username! That time of the month again?

everydayisorange writes:

in response to CrankE:

Since Martin is a lymphoma survivor it appears that, critical examination of his actual record and accomplishments as a head coach is not allowed.

Some of you apparently expect that UT's opponents will see it exactly the same way and have sympathy for the Vols in the punishment phase, on the court, and in seeding next year's tournament.

You see it wrong! Critical examination of his record is impairative and incouraged. With further examination, you will see a record of 61 and 41 in 3 years at M St.No oppossing team cares what is going on at UT, as it should be. As I said earlier, don't let your hate of Hamilton cloud your judgement! Research before posting!

RockyTopRampage writes:

Again, wasn't trying to upset anyone by this statement and sorry if anyone thought that I was taking a cheap shot.

My top 5 were unreasonable because I know that UT will take the cheapest route possible in most cases so there goes Stevens and now probably Smart. I am well aware that we don't hold the best hand when it comes to the coaching selection but I mean this just seems a bit like a panic hire of an unproven coach (And please don't try to argue that he went 26-9 because it was in the Mizz Valley Conference.) That's like saying that Watson Brown head coach of Tenn. Tech should have been a reasonable candidate since he had a likewise outcome from the OVC.

At any rate, I understand article is about character and personality and from that standpoint I admire this guy. But as for winning ballgames in the SEC and leading us to a tourney? I think that we should have at least weighed out all options before hiring the first dope to withstand the impending sanctions.

CrankE writes:

in response to everydayisorange:

You see it wrong! Critical examination of his record is impairative and incouraged. With further examination, you will see a record of 61 and 41 in 3 years at M St.No oppossing team cares what is going on at UT, as it should be. As I said earlier, don't let your hate of Hamilton cloud your judgement! Research before posting!

Uh....Don't let your love for Hamilton cloud your judgment.

CrankE writes:

in response to hep:

Fitting username! That time of the month again?

Further proof of my point. Thanks!

everydayisorange writes:

in response to CrankE:

Uh....Don't let your love for Hamilton cloud your judgment.

I neither like nor dislike Hamilton! I judge people for their accomplishments and failures, just like anyone else. I know that you would have prefered a different coach and AD, but it is what it is. At least give the man a chance before passing judgement! If you can't do that then find another team to root for as you don't like CDD either! GBO!!!

Halls3 writes:

in response to RockyTopRampage:

Again, wasn't trying to upset anyone by this statement and sorry if anyone thought that I was taking a cheap shot.

My top 5 were unreasonable because I know that UT will take the cheapest route possible in most cases so there goes Stevens and now probably Smart. I am well aware that we don't hold the best hand when it comes to the coaching selection but I mean this just seems a bit like a panic hire of an unproven coach (And please don't try to argue that he went 26-9 because it was in the Mizz Valley Conference.) That's like saying that Watson Brown head coach of Tenn. Tech should have been a reasonable candidate since he had a likewise outcome from the OVC.

At any rate, I understand article is about character and personality and from that standpoint I admire this guy. But as for winning ballgames in the SEC and leading us to a tourney? I think that we should have at least weighed out all options before hiring the first dope to withstand the impending sanctions.

You're right the Missouri Valley Conference is so overrated. You know Northern Iowa only beat Kansas last year & Bradley made the Sweet 16 back in 2006. Oh & that Southern Illinois team that has been a hot commodity for a few years is garbage too. Good grief people Cuonzo was a hot commodity nationally for new coaching jobs. Missouri was interested & if Purdue loses Painter he would have been their first choice. Bruce Pearl was unproven when he was hired but it seems everyone forgot that. Oh wait, he was a proven cheater at UW-Milwaukee that's right. Oh & a self-righteous jerk from many Big 10 followers.

movol77 writes:

in response to RockyTopRampage:

Not saying that he isn't strong or brave please don't get me wrong. But couldn't we have gotten someone a bit more basketball battle-tested? Why the rush?

So OU, Mizzou, etc. couldn't hire Martin first while UT consulted the GVX complainers about the hire.

movol77 writes:

in response to RockyTopRampage:

Again, wasn't trying to upset anyone by this statement and sorry if anyone thought that I was taking a cheap shot.

My top 5 were unreasonable because I know that UT will take the cheapest route possible in most cases so there goes Stevens and now probably Smart. I am well aware that we don't hold the best hand when it comes to the coaching selection but I mean this just seems a bit like a panic hire of an unproven coach (And please don't try to argue that he went 26-9 because it was in the Mizz Valley Conference.) That's like saying that Watson Brown head coach of Tenn. Tech should have been a reasonable candidate since he had a likewise outcome from the OVC.

At any rate, I understand article is about character and personality and from that standpoint I admire this guy. But as for winning ballgames in the SEC and leading us to a tourney? I think that we should have at least weighed out all options before hiring the first dope to withstand the impending sanctions.

OVC overrated? You need a history lesson.

BTW, our beloved Vols just about lost to MSU in Knoxville. Good thing we didn't play them at MSU. They didn't but a few at home under Martin. None this year.

movol77 writes:

in response to movol77:

OVC overrated? You need a history lesson.

BTW, our beloved Vols just about lost to MSU in Knoxville. Good thing we didn't play them at MSU. They didn't but a few at home under Martin. None this year.

Correction. MVC

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