Asked late Wednesday by News Sentinel sportswriter Mike Griffith if Martin had considered any of the recent openings on Derek Dooley's Tennessee staff, Martin texted: "Never got a call."
Former Tennessee quarterback and Kentucky wide receivers coach Tee Martin is leaving Kentucky to join Lane Kiffin's coaching staff at Southern Cal. "i'm excited, great opportunity," Martin said in a text to News Sentinel sportswriter Mike Griffith.
Southern Cal quarterback Matt Barkley, however, broke the story on Twitter, but the news was later confirmed by Martin, the Kentucky athletic department and sources within the USC football program who were not authorized to speak on the record. After Barkley's Tweet, Martin confirmed the move in texts to several sports writers.
Matt Barkley Tweet
University of Kentucky spokesman Tony Neely confirmed late Wednesday to the Lexington Herald Leader that Martin is leaving Lexington.
In a text to the Herald Leader, Neely said, "Coach Martin is confirming that he has taken the job."
And Jeff Drummond of CatsPause.com of CatsPause.com reported: "Yes," Martin said via text message. "I'm headed to S.C."
Former Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin — who recently added Scottie Hazelton as linebackers coach, and Marvin Sanders as defensive backs coach to his Southern Cal staff — adds the 33-year-old Martin as USC's wide receivers coach, the same position he held with the Kentucky football program. At Kentucky, Martin was had the additional role of passing game coordinator.
Martin, considered one of Kentucky's top recruiters and landing three of its top 2012 signees, interviewed with Kiffin on Monday and Kentucky coach Joker Phillips and Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart had been hopeful of keeping him with the Wildcats, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported. Martin had previously turned down overtures to leave Kentucky from Alabama, Auburn and Tennessee, the Courier-Journal said.
Asked late Wednesday by the News Sentinel's Griffith if Martin had considered any of the recent openings on Derek Dooley's Tennessee staff, Martin texted: "Never got a call."
A native of Mobile, Ala., Martin was a four-year letterman at Tennessee from 1996-99 and led the UT to the 1998 national championship. The next year, as a senior, Martin was named first-team All-SEC.
Martin is still tied for the NCAA record for consecutive completions in one game with 23 straight completions vs. South Carolina on Oct. 31, 1998.
Drafted in the fifth round by the Pittsburgh Steelers, he spent two years with that NFL team before going to Europe, then back to the NFL with the Oakland Raiders and then to the Canadian Football League.
He began his coaching career at Morehouse College in Atlanta in 2006 and reunited with former Tennessee offensive coordinator Randy Sanders at Kentucky after closing out the 2009 season as an assistant with the University of New Mexico.
In his two years in the SEC, he made a mark, credited with helping develop former Alcoa High School star Randall Cobb, who was drafted by the Green Bay Packers, and Chris Matthews, who was a second-team All-SEC selection. He is among the top 20 recruiters in the SEC as ranked by ESPN.com.