Tee Martin turns down Tennessee homecoming, will stay at Southern Cal

Martin made 'commitment to my players'

Peerless Price, left, and Tee Martin, both members of the 1998 National Championship team, gather on the field to be recognized before a 2008 Tennessee game against Alabama at Neyland Stadium.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

Peerless Price, left, and Tee Martin, both members of the 1998 National Championship team, gather on the field to be recognized before a 2008 Tennessee game against Alabama at Neyland Stadium.

Tee Martin

Tee Martin

Former Tennessee quarterback Tee Martin has turned down an offer to return to the Vols as part of new coach Butch Jones' staff.

Martin returned Tuesday to Los Angeles, where he is a receivers coach at Southern California under former UT coach Lane Kiffin.

"I was very honored to be offered a position on Coach Jones' Tennessee staff," Martin said in a statement released by the school. "I truly believe he will do an outstanding job with the Vols program. My decision to remain at USC was the toughest I have ever had to make because Tennessee is such a special place to me.

"At the end of the day, I am a man of my word. I promised Coach Kiffin when I was hired at USC that I had goals I wanted to accomplish here. We still have work to do here to reach those goals. I see a great future at USC with the players on our roster and the recruits we have coming in.

"I have so much love and respect for Tennessee. But at this time, the right decision was to continue at USC and I am looking forward to doing that."

Martin and his family caught a flight out of Knoxville on Tuesday morning, ending a one-day visit to the university he led to a national title in 1998 and a campus that has a street named in his honor.

Martin's rejection leaves Jones with one opening

still available on his on-field coaching staff. He could turn to his wide receivers coach at Cincinnati T.J. Weist, or seek other candidates in the South.

Martin arrived Monday with his wife and two children and spent the day visiting with Jones and his staff and touring UT's facilities.

"Things went really good," Martin said Monday night. "I had an opportunity to meet the staff and see everything that's changed (on campus). I could tell they were headed in the right direction."

"It's about making this decision for the right reason," he said.

Martin, who has two children in Knoxville from a previous relationship, watched his son played middle school basketball Monday night.

USC is a private university and does not have to disclose the salary it pays coaches.

Jones was given a pool of $3 million with which to hire assistant coaches, which is about the same as Derek Dooley had in his final season. Tennessee's highest-paid non-coordinator assistants in 2012 were Sam Pittman and John Palermo, who made $275,000.

Before joining Kiffin and the Trojans, Martin spent one year at New Mexico and then two years at Kentucky.

Of the seven coaches already hired, five have ties to Jones' staff at Cincinnati — offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian, offensive line coach Don Mahoney, tight ends coach Mark Elder, defensive coordinator John Jancek and defensive line coach Steve Stripling.

Jones also retained one member of Dooley's coaching staff — running backs coach Jay Graham — and hired two coaches from the recently dismissed staff at Auburn — secondary coaches Willie Martinez and Tommy Thigpen.

Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.

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Comments » 425

AllVol1 writes:

Tough to hear. Obviously there were other factors. If he were simply committed to his recruits and players, he would not have come to interview and check it out. I will not trash Tee. A man has to do what he thinks is right. If he does not want to be here, for whatever reasons, then I don't think he should be here. Let's focus on the best coach who wants to be here. Go Vols.

OTPVol writes:

in response to AllVol1:

Tough to hear. Obviously there were other factors. If he were simply committed to his recruits and players, he would not have come to interview and check it out. I will not trash Tee. A man has to do what he thinks is right. If he does not want to be here, for whatever reasons, then I don't think he should be here. Let's focus on the best coach who wants to be here. Go Vols.

Yep

JimmyJoe writes:

Terrible decision on Tee's part. When the University that named a street after you calls you home in her time of need you answer the call. When your boy there at SC gets canned in the next year or so... Which really could have been this year... Or when he decides to replace you with an SC alum who has a bigger name than you...well we will all feel sorry for you...but we will not have a place for you here....enjoy your life out there big boy.

sstarnes#216340 writes:

yeah....he's p-whooped, we now know who wears the pants in his family. He has officially been converted to a nut, so let him live on in the land of fruits and nuts.

HuntsvilleVol writes:

Nothing personal. He made a commitment and its admirable of him to honor it, unlike his boss.

sstarnes#216340 writes:

Now let's approach Al Wilson-----i bet he could recruit Tee Martin under the table and be the best motivator money could buy.

JimmyJoe writes:

I'm not trashing Tee...but I am done with him.

Scoon writes:

uuuuuuuuuuuuuh .... O.U.C.H. !!!

there .... there, ita be alright ....

jplemons80 writes:

I hope now we can close the book on Martin, forget him for good and move on. How about we find a receivers coach that was actually a receiver?

illinoisvolfan writes:

in response to Scoon:

uuuuuuuuuuuuuh .... O.U.C.H. !!!

there .... there, ita be alright ....

You had the same reaction watching UK against the Vols every November from 1985-2010, didn't ya?

GOVOLStcomp31 writes:

Tee we needed you back here, the place where you made your name... You didnt come back, but rather stayed and showed loyalty to the same guy who did not show it for who? Oh, yeah thats right TENNESSEE, he flat disrespected your team that you fought with and the school that you fought for and believed in. He still makes fun of it and bashes it along with the fan base where you are at now... I know that some things in life you cant change, and if its your wife, kids or whatever then fine, but please dont make a statement that you are "commited" to them, SAY IT AINT SO! I think Tee Martin Drive will sound a lot better as Al Wilson Drive... JMO, I want to still love the guy for the 1998 season, but wow this is a very hard pill to swallow, and its mostly because of who he works for... Loyalty has no bearing on anything anymore

JimmyJoe writes:

I guess we can rename Tee Martin Drive to Tee Martin Passed. Or move it to one of the streets that turns its back on he University.... Like maybe he one that runs by the sewer plant.

spacehistorian writes:

I think Tee will regret this next year because the pressure is on hot & heavy for Lane Kiffin to win big at USC. So Tee could find himself out of a job at the end of next season when he could have been welcomed home to The Hill where CBJ is rebuilding the Vols. You would think a former UT great like Tee would have been thrilled to return in this situation but maybe the $$$ wasn't there or his wife likes LA too much. We still love Tee but this seems like a bad choice. Time will tell as the games are played out the next few seasons. CBJ made a good-faith effort but now it is time to move on. Go Big Orange!

MurfVol77 writes:

If he doesn't want to be here then I reckon I don't really want him here...good luck sir but don't think the fans won't remember next time you're in Neyland.

PureOrange writes:

Scary! Did he not realize he had made a commitment to those players BEFORE he hoped on the plane for a FREE trip to UT, and to either make a fool of himself or UT?

It wasn't like he came in and found out Coach Jones wanted to talk to him about a job. He said he had talked to Coach Jones a couple of days before he came.

Does not make Tee look good at all. Actually makes him seem to be a very good fit at usc with Kiffin and wild-man.

Kinda glad he did turn it down though because sounds like he has some issues.

albert63 writes:

too funny

volinlm writes:

in response to JimmyJoe:

I guess we can rename Tee Martin Drive to Tee Martin Passed. Or move it to one of the streets that turns its back on he University.... Like maybe he one that runs by the sewer plant.

That's a little harsh. He's been to three schools and, apparently, UT hasn't offered him a job 'til now. I wish him the best. He has a family and has to think about what's best for him and them, not you and other UT fans.

VolCard writes:

in response to JimmyJoe:

I'm not trashing Tee...but I am done with him.

Seriously? Done with Tee Martin? Because he made a decision he believes is in the best interests of his family that doesn't line up with your football allegiance?

He didn't take a job with the Vols and back out. He didn't come here to work and leave. He didn't say one thing and do another. Apparently he just felt like this wasn't the right place for him right now.

As much as I wish the decision were different, there's nothing wrong with that, and it doesn't undo his legacy as a Vol.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

Tee Benedict Arnold Martin!!

BigOrangeSmoker writes:

I wasnt so big on Tee to begin with...im all in on jones but i have some question marks as well,im lookin at what he's bringing coach wise,has beens from Auburn and coaches from his staff in Cinncy which by the way be send em crying for their momma's year before last.Yeah his stuff might work in the big east but im not sold on it working here in the SEC but time will tell

jkleno#393970 writes:

in response to JimmyJoe:

Terrible decision on Tee's part. When the University that named a street after you calls you home in her time of need you answer the call. When your boy there at SC gets canned in the next year or so... Which really could have been this year... Or when he decides to replace you with an SC alum who has a bigger name than you...well we will all feel sorry for you...but we will not have a place for you here....enjoy your life out there big boy.

I second that!!!

volsmith writes:

Looks like a job for Trooper Taylor to me.

CantStandCantStandSaban writes:

in response to sstarnes#216340:

Now let's approach Al Wilson-----i bet he could recruit Tee Martin under the table and be the best motivator money could buy.

To coach WRs?

Biggie writes:

WoW! I'm shocked. Thoughht Tee was Orange thru and thru......I guess not. He stated it was because of the comittment he made to his players..If that's true. He's off my good guy list. If it was family issues, he should have said that and saved face with the UT faithfull. Stay with your players and your scumbag coach.

GOVOLStcomp31 writes:

in response to volsmith:

Looks like a job for Trooper Taylor to me.

Agreed, but we do not know what his NCAA sanctions will be, and if Jones hired him we (meaning our beloved school and team) will have to face the brunt for some of those violations.

Biggie writes:

in response to volsmith:

Looks like a job for Trooper Taylor to me.

No way! He's gonna be under investigation soon. We don't need that.

eaglentn2002#343016 writes:

Maybe after next season we can rename Tee Martin Drive to Butch Jones Way! Lets move on and let Tee and Lane hangout in the unemployment line next year!

volwest54 writes:

We did not win the naional championshp because he was a great qb. We won because we had great offensive players and a stout defnese. Vols football will be fine without Tee Martin.

easleychuck writes:

The logic that Martin used is the same type of reasoning that Strong used when he declined the UT offer of head coach.

Whether either coach came to UT or not was of no consequence. The program continues on. But their logic really precludes them from ever leaving their current jobs. Martin will always be recruiting players and making promises to the players. I would like to believe that one's roots to a school would be a part of a decision, but that is apparently not the case with Martin.

To me even more telling would the ability to see one's child on a more regular basis would have been a huge plus but, again, apparently not so with Martin.

So Martin is essentially tied to Kiffin for better or worse.

pcorange writes:

I think we could all see this coming yesterday. In hindsight, CBJ probably shouldn't have given him that much time to think about it before moving on to someone else. Tee is probably a good coach, but there are just as good or better out there that can be had.

TheStupidPolice writes:

Hire Peerless Price.

Orangemax1 writes:

Obviously not a VFL! He has learned the "trade" from the number one snake!
So long Tee. Good luck when Kiffen gets the boot

VOLinATL writes:

in response to VolCard:

Seriously? Done with Tee Martin? Because he made a decision he believes is in the best interests of his family that doesn't line up with your football allegiance?

He didn't take a job with the Vols and back out. He didn't come here to work and leave. He didn't say one thing and do another. Apparently he just felt like this wasn't the right place for him right now.

As much as I wish the decision were different, there's nothing wrong with that, and it doesn't undo his legacy as a Vol.

Well said!!!

antonio14313 writes:

in response to AllVol1:

Tough to hear. Obviously there were other factors. If he were simply committed to his recruits and players, he would not have come to interview and check it out. I will not trash Tee. A man has to do what he thinks is right. If he does not want to be here, for whatever reasons, then I don't think he should be here. Let's focus on the best coach who wants to be here. Go Vols.

EXACTLY! let's focus on the best coaches that WANT to be here. nail on the head. we wish you well coach martin, as long as your intentions doesn't interfere with those of our tennessee volunteers. go vols!

t

BigToe18 writes:

in response to volinlm:

That's a little harsh. He's been to three schools and, apparently, UT hasn't offered him a job 'til now. I wish him the best. He has a family and has to think about what's best for him and them, not you and other UT fans.

I agree! GOD,FAMILY then TENN.VOLS. go tee martin have a good life. Maybe someday?

vut5686#1405392 writes:

Alright, all together now: Who in Vol land never turned down a job offer? (Show of hands)

Now, what part of no do we not understand?

This should be a non issue. Tee Martin may be a fine man. He was a one year quarterback who happened to be along on our year of glory. He has worked at the college level (prior to USC) at two losing programs, in minor rolls. He is reportedly a good recruiter, but he did not recruit KY to victory (except over us). This is not a negative hit on Martin. He just seems another "name" we clamor for, and want to throw a hissy fit if we do not get him. We offered; he said no; end of story.

JimmyJoe writes:

in response to VolCard:

Seriously? Done with Tee Martin? Because he made a decision he believes is in the best interests of his family that doesn't line up with your football allegiance?

He didn't take a job with the Vols and back out. He didn't come here to work and leave. He didn't say one thing and do another. Apparently he just felt like this wasn't the right place for him right now.

As much as I wish the decision were different, there's nothing wrong with that, and it doesn't undo his legacy as a Vol.

WE NAMED A STREET AFTER HIM DUDE!!!! His school needs him and he is staying at USC to work with UT's arch enemy... We are not good enough for him anymore.... Or we are not cool enough for him. Yeah I'm done. I followed his butt all over the country in 98. I was there at Syracuse and at Tempe... I did my part...dang We all have... I'm tired of giving these kids everything and then when they leave town forget who we are. He is on his own....there is a reason he is not Peyton....and this is one of them....yeah I'm done.

ACWLY writes:

in response to HuntsvilleVol:

Nothing personal. He made a commitment and its admirable of him to honor it, unlike his boss.

Sorry Chris, but he would NOT have interviewed had commitment been his priority. No, it had NOTHING to do with commitment it was all about the MONEY, UT couldn't match or increase his present salary so he played the COMMITMENT CARD knowing many would admire that. But not me, the "Warrior" has deserted his OWN KIND for the sole purpose of MONEY. I bet LYING kiffin laughed when he heard martin use the word COMMITMENT we all know kiffin is the "King of Commitment".... My number one team is and always will be TENNESSEE, my NEW number two team is ANYBODY playing Southern COW... GO JACKETS!!!! California is a perfect fit for martin and kiffin, and should Tee ever come back to Neyland and the crowd cheers him but you here a lone BOO, that will be me!!!

Vol86 writes:

in response to PureOrange:

Scary! Did he not realize he had made a commitment to those players BEFORE he hoped on the plane for a FREE trip to UT, and to either make a fool of himself or UT?

It wasn't like he came in and found out Coach Jones wanted to talk to him about a job. He said he had talked to Coach Jones a couple of days before he came.

Does not make Tee look good at all. Actually makes him seem to be a very good fit at usc with Kiffin and wild-man.

Kinda glad he did turn it down though because sounds like he has some issues.

I picked up on that too. A free trip to Knoxville. Oh well

FWBVol writes:

So if Tee were to say his wife was the reason for staying at USC fans would be on here bashing him for being henpecked. They would say he needs to loosen the apron strings and stand up to her and be a man.

Not matter what explanation Martin gave the "angry masses" would be spewing their hate about Tee Martin doing us wrong.

Tee Martin has represented the University of Tennessee well as a player and a Tennessee graduate. He gave his all for the Vols and led us to the National Championship that was so elusive when Peyton and others were here.

The street named after Tee Martin recognizes what he did as a player and never had any strings attached that he would come back here as an assistant coach.

We all make decisions that are personal decisions and the reasons behind those decisions don't need to be aired in the court of public opinion. Tee Martin has to do what is right for him and his family and real Volunteer fans will support that decision even if it's not the one we wanted to hear.

lemme_axya_this writes:

Does this mean he wasn't committed to the players he recruited to Ky? It didn't seem to bother him to leave those guys. Yeah, I know it was Ky, but a commitment is a commitment. Maybe his contract was about up.

MurfVol77 writes:

in response to vut5686#1405392:

Alright, all together now: Who in Vol land never turned down a job offer? (Show of hands)

Now, what part of no do we not understand?

This should be a non issue. Tee Martin may be a fine man. He was a one year quarterback who happened to be along on our year of glory. He has worked at the college level (prior to USC) at two losing programs, in minor rolls. He is reportedly a good recruiter, but he did not recruit KY to victory (except over us). This is not a negative hit on Martin. He just seems another "name" we clamor for, and want to throw a hissy fit if we do not get him. We offered; he said no; end of story.

agreed and there are better wr coaches out there as well...

Pickwick-Vol writes:

in response to volsmith:

Looks like a job for Trooper Taylor to me.

Give it a rest already! Trooper Taylor was a cancer for our program when he was here, stayed at odds with the staff his entire time at Tennessee. He's a rah-rah type coach and a race card playing trouble maker. He demanded Fulmer make him OC when we were in transition after Cutcliff's second departure. The guy needs to be as far away from UT football as we can possibly get him.

sstarnes#216340 writes:

in response to CantStandCantStandSaban:

To coach WRs?

Tee was being pursued for his recruiting talent not his ability to coach the WR's---he didn't even play WR for pete sake

Vol86 writes:

in response to MOUNTAINofOKEMO:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

commi

ronburgundywillreturn writes:

Staying put is fine if that is what he wanted, but it does illustrate that his loyalty to Tennessee is not very strong. The Kiffin stinch will stick with him for a while with Tennessee fans now. It's one thing to take a job cause you need it. It's another to want to keep a job over other options. He will probably not be as well received here in the future.

GOVOLStcomp31 writes:

in response to vut5686#1405392:

Alright, all together now: Who in Vol land never turned down a job offer? (Show of hands)

Now, what part of no do we not understand?

This should be a non issue. Tee Martin may be a fine man. He was a one year quarterback who happened to be along on our year of glory. He has worked at the college level (prior to USC) at two losing programs, in minor rolls. He is reportedly a good recruiter, but he did not recruit KY to victory (except over us). This is not a negative hit on Martin. He just seems another "name" we clamor for, and want to throw a hissy fit if we do not get him. We offered; he said no; end of story.

I dont agree with you exactly. Yes lets MOVE ON, but you cant get mad at VOL Nation for being upset. The 2nd favorite QB to come out of the school turns down the school to work for a coach who put that same school back to the stone ages, and be apart of a program that constantly makes jokes and pokes at our program. I'd say that is plenty reason to be upset about the decision. Not saying write the man off, but they have reason to be upset while moving on. TENNESSEE has the most passionate fan base in the wold in my opinion, and they have been beat down for 5 years now. So please dont hate on those venting anger, im pissed about it myself, but agreed that we now need to move on.

SummerfieldVol writes:

One thing for sure, lets say $285,000 here is a lot more money to spend here for a home and expenses than it would be in Los Angeles. So I expect he got a raise to stay. Like someone posted earlier when he is let go we will not have a open, plus I guess he is not a Vol at heart.

TNFaninFL writes:

No big loss other than bringing in another coach with Orange history, never understood what Tee knew about coaching receivers anyway. Coach Jones tried so we have to give him some credit for that, find someone who can recruit, recruit, recruit.

vol_mania82 writes:

I've read a lot of "whats best for his family"...imo how could bringing your family to Knoxville not be a good decision? Quality schools, cost of living is way better than LA not mention the quality of life here....idk I'm really disappointed he didn't take the offer..and his whole Im committed spill...his daddy(LK) out in Cali showed UT no commitment at all..

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