With college basketball’s offseason approaching, the time has begun when coaching carousels whirl and negotiations preempt vacations.
With that in mind, the question persists whether Tennessee will take another look at men’s coach Cuonzo Martin’s contract.
Martin is two years into a five-year deal worth $1.3 million annually. His salary is tied with Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy’s for 10th among the SEC’s 14 coaches.
On Tuesday, a source with knowledge of the situation told the News Sentinel that Martin and his agent, Andrew “Buddy” Baker, will pursue an extension and possible renegotiation of his current contract when or if Tennessee reaches out this offseason.
UT athletic director Dave Hart declined to discuss Martin’s contract at this time.
Martin did not respond to calls seeking comment.
Meanwhile, the source, who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to speak to the media, said UT has yet to reach out to enter contract discussions.
Martin’s two seasons in Knoxville have produced a 39-28 overall record, a 21-13 SEC mark and two NIT appearances. Including three seasons at Missouri State, he’s 100-69 as a head coach.
Martin’s current annual contract pays him a base salary of $325,000. Payouts for broadcasting ($425,000), apparel ($325,000) and endorsements ($225,000) compile the rest of the deal.
Per his contract, the 41-year-old can supplement his income with additional endorsement or consultation contracts, public speaking events, board memberships, club memberships, etc.
Hired on March 27, 2011, after former coach Bruce Pearl’s unceremonious ouster, Martin worked under a memorandum of understanding for his first 15 months on the job.
He officially signed a contract in July 2012, prior to going 20-13 in his second year at UT.
The original memorandum of understanding offered Tennessee the option of adding a two-year extension to the contract following a 24-month review. The clause was included because possible NCAA violations — and penalties — loomed large. If, for instance, UT received a multi-year postseason ban for indiscretions under Pearl, Martin could be protected, guaranteeing a fair shake.
That clause was not included in the final contract signed in July, those NCAA clouds having passed.
The rest of the terms spelled out and the MOU went unchanged. No additional years, money, or performance bonuses, such as $25,000 for an NIT appearance, $50,000 for an NCAA appearance and $100,000 for an SEC regular-season title, were adjusted in the current formal contract.
Among SEC coaches, Martin earns more than LSU’s Johnny Jones ($1.1 million through 2016-17), Mississippi State’s Rick Ray ($1 million through 2015-16) and Texas A&M’s Billy Kennedy ($1 million through 2015-16).
Martin ranks just behind Auburn’s Tony Barbee ($1.5 million through 2016-17) on the SEC salary scale.
Hired by former UT athletic director Mike Hamilton, Martin left Missouri State for Tennessee following the 2010-11 season. He was one year into a five-year contract paying $300,000 per year.
Tennessee was on the hook for a $200,000 contract buyout to Missouri State upon hiring Martin.
Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men’s basketball. Follow him at Twitter.com/BFQuinn.