Offseason could be time to evaluate Cuonzo Martin's contract

Source: UT coach would seek an extension

Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin calls to his players as they take on Mercer in the first half during the first round of the NIT Wednesday, March 20, 2013, at Thompson-Boling Arena. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)$RETURN$$RETURN$

Photo by Adam Brimer

Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin calls to his players as they take on Mercer in the first half during the first round of the NIT Wednesday, March 20, 2013, at Thompson-Boling Arena. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)$RETURN$$RETURN$

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.

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Comments » 116

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

What in the heck are you talking about? The guy has only been here two years. If any contracts need to be evaluated it's those of some KNS sports writers.

doh writes:

Do you extend his contract even though his first two years have resulted in two NIT appearances? I think wait until next year when he has his a team that, if healthy, should be in the NCAA tourney. Then you reward him for that.

SpiritOfTheHill writes:

"Martin’s two seasons in Knoxville have produced a 39-32 overall record"

Needs correcting: 39-28 is the actual record.

tquillen#249140 writes:

I hope you are kidding.

underthehill writes:

in response to snowpeapod#263184:

What in the heck are you talking about? The guy has only been here two years. If any contracts need to be evaluated it's those of some KNS sports writers.

I think the article is about Martin wanting an extension..does that help you understand..it is not the KNS sports writers asking for him to have an extension..now do you understand..

volsmith writes:

I say evaluate his performance after next year. Why up somebody's salary after two sub-par years?

ExTrEmE_Vol writes:

Since he is the B.B. Coach, he is used to balls bouncing, right ? Then go right ahead and cut him a check... It should bounce like Hell....

UTKin1992 writes:

Allow me. You're fired gonzo, bonzo, or whatever your weird name is.

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

in response to underthehill:

I think the article is about Martin wanting an extension..does that help you understand..it is not the KNS sports writers asking for him to have an extension..now do you understand..

I understood the article to read that Martin and his agent would pursue an extension, when and if UT would reach out to them. It made no mention that Martin or his agent would initiate the discussion. I guess I'm not as good at reading between the lines as you seem to be.

BFQuinn writes:

Record has been corrected. I apologize for the error.
- Quinn

tomkats3242 writes:

Martin is over paid for no more than he gives to the University. He is at best a junion college coach and he cannot recruit quality players. What he has gotten to play for UT would not make a good junior college team. If Hart gives him a raise than the University President should fire Hart also. Enough giving large contracts for nobody coachs.

RickyVols writes:

Renegotiate, modify or do whatever tweaking might be appropriate, but for God's sake, do not add additional buyouts. Do not make it harder financially for UT to let Cuonzo go if needed. I think he's done an OK job up to this point, but next year is make or break. Let's see how the team does before we try and lock Cuonzo up long term. He still has a lot to prove and I think needs his job at UT more than we need him.

SummittsCourt writes:

39-28 does not scream salary extension or pay raise or anything else. It says as a coach the Vols have been able to maintain, but not really go to the next level.

Next season has to be a make or break season. If the Vols get to the tourney and make some noise then talk extension. If they fail to make the tourney then maybe it's time to look elsewhere.

eb502us#225637 writes:

If Dave Hart offers any kind of extension with a guarantee, then he needs to be fired on the spot.

UT's financial situation has been well documented so being loose with the purse strings with a coach who is still UNDER CONTRACT and UNPROVEN up to this point would be akin to financial malpractice.

Bottom line is that if Hart reaches out to Martin or his agent prior to the end of next season, his hand needs to be cut off!!!

tvol71 writes:

Not impressed with the performance so far, didn't even make it past the first round of the NIT. If they make it past the first round of the NCAA, then maybe start considering an extension and raise. Anything less should not get any consideration. Don't make the same mistake that they did with Dooley.

NoIncomeTax writes:

Go earn what you are being paid now Cuonzo! $25,000 bonus for making the NIT? When you reward mediocre performance, you should expect mediocre results.

oldster writes:

Here you have a coach with a record that is barely over 500 in a league that is way down. Moreover, his teams lose early and often in every post season tourney, even against bad teams. What has he done to deserve the thoughts of an extension? The only positive is that he has avoided the negatives like players getting in trouble, NCAA troubles and the like. And these are postive things, to be sure. However, he is being paid more than enough to do that. In fact, there are a lot of people who could and would do that for a lot less. I would do it for half that. I could not win many games, but I could run a clean program. What I mean is that he is not being paid big bucks to just run a clean program. He is paid to produce winners AND run a clean program. He has NOT, to this point, done the more important part of his job. Worse, his teams are boring even when they win. Therefore, he should not get an extension or a raise. If his team actually accomplishes something (except come up with excuses for not accomplishing anything), then, and only then, should an extension and/or a raise be contemplated.

Oh, and btw: a coach that recruits players that are not convinced that each game is, on its own merits, enough to play for or is not motivator enough to convince them of that, does not deserve the salary CMM is currently getting. So, I would suggest a salary modification downward.

VolFanHoping writes:

So, we more than quadruple the salary of a guy who has never been to the NCAA tournament, and in his first two years with us does no better....and goes one and done in the four tournaments he has been to since he got here...and he wants a raise that's guaranteed longer. Wow.

underthehill writes:

in response to snowpeapod#263184:

I understood the article to read that Martin and his agent would pursue an extension, when and if UT would reach out to them. It made no mention that Martin or his agent would initiate the discussion. I guess I'm not as good at reading between the lines as you seem to be.

I think you got it right..I just did not understand being critical of KNS for reporting it..

WetumpkaThumpa writes:

in response to tomkats3242:

Martin is over paid for no more than he gives to the University. He is at best a junion college coach and he cannot recruit quality players. What he has gotten to play for UT would not make a good junior college team. If Hart gives him a raise than the University President should fire Hart also. Enough giving large contracts for nobody coachs.

Stokes and Robert Hubbs aren't quality players? I guess Duke, Florida, Memphis, etc. only offered those two because they felt they would be good practice players?

thevoice writes:

Finishes 2nd and 5th in SEC, UT has the 7th (or so) largest BB attendance in the nation. Probably ought to be paid better then the 10th best coach in a 14-team league.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to thevoice:

Finishes 2nd and 5th in SEC, UT has the 7th (or so) largest BB attendance in the nation. Probably ought to be paid better then the 10th best coach in a 14-team league.

That is arguably the best point made so far. It seems to be the consensus of the board that next year will really tell the story long-term, which may be fair enough. However, to say that he is OVERPAID for what he has done so far is a bit much. Considering that UT is second in the SEC in attendance and has finished no worse than fifth under the 10th highest paid coach, UT is getting its money's worth and perhaps then some. That said, I think the administration should wait to talk extension. I thought he had only a three-year contract. After the third year of a five-year contract is plenty soon enough to talk about extensions if such seem to be warranted.

NashvillePreds writes:

Dear Cuonzo,
Mike Hamilton no longer works here.
Make the tournament, then we'll talk.

Sincerely,
Dave Hart

ReeseHallRelic writes:

in response to UTKin1992:

Allow me. You're fired gonzo, bonzo, or whatever your weird name is.

Wow. Insightful? No, that's not it. Thoughtful? Nuh-uh. Infantile? Yeah, that's it!

VOLinTX writes:

I wish (he who must not be named) was still coaching.
Extension for C. Martin---NO

seofeed writes:

in response to UTKin1992:

Allow me. You're fired gonzo, bonzo, or whatever your weird name is.

Really man?

tnoutlaw2001#228008 writes:

in response to tomkats3242:

Martin is over paid for no more than he gives to the University. He is at best a junion college coach and he cannot recruit quality players. What he has gotten to play for UT would not make a good junior college team. If Hart gives him a raise than the University President should fire Hart also. Enough giving large contracts for nobody coachs.

I'm not defending his record but you do realize if he brings in the class next year, he will have been responsible for recruiting and signing 2 of UT highest ever recruits for basketball?

Jarnell Stokes and Robert Hubbs

I think Vincent Yarbrough was the highest rated signed in the last 20 years.

bosscat writes:

CCM hired March 2011--effectively after the recruiting season of 2011. NCAA violations and penalties loomed large thru early Spring 2012--effectively after the recruiting season of 2012. Nevertheless, CCM signed Stokes late in 2011, has recruited 5-star Hubbs, 2 well-thought of 3-star recruits and, most recently, got a commitment from Darius Thompson, an in-state player considered to be 4th best combo guard in country. Current recruiting class ranked 23rd nationally and will probably be ranked higher with Thompson coming on board. Lost probably best player in Maymon for the entire 2012-2013 season. Still finished 2nd in SEC in 2012 and 5th in SEC in 2013. I think you guys, whoever you are, might want to cut CCM some slack. Give the man a raise (not an extension) that would bring him up a few notches relative to other SEC coaches and see how we do with his recruits for a couple of years. And lastly, take the time to read what his current players have to say about what they think of CCM--I don't think there are many coaches that have the respect of their players that CCM does.

1vavolfan writes:

in response to WetumpkaThumpa:

Stokes and Robert Hubbs aren't quality players? I guess Duke, Florida, Memphis, etc. only offered those two because they felt they would be good practice players?

If Martin gets a pay raise he should give half of it to Jarnell's family. If Stokes doesn't fall into Martin's lap then UT is sub-500 this year. Martin got him because no one else had a scholarship available.

1vavolfan writes:

I would say 10th is about right. Get into to tournament coach and then we'll talk about an extension. UT would be nuts to give this guy an extension. Doesn't look like the University has learned anything from the Fulmer, Dooley, and Hamilton contracts. Martin should be on his way out without a major improvement next season. UT should not reward mediocrity.

1vavolfan writes:

in response to bosscat:

CCM hired March 2011--effectively after the recruiting season of 2011. NCAA violations and penalties loomed large thru early Spring 2012--effectively after the recruiting season of 2012. Nevertheless, CCM signed Stokes late in 2011, has recruited 5-star Hubbs, 2 well-thought of 3-star recruits and, most recently, got a commitment from Darius Thompson, an in-state player considered to be 4th best combo guard in country. Current recruiting class ranked 23rd nationally and will probably be ranked higher with Thompson coming on board. Lost probably best player in Maymon for the entire 2012-2013 season. Still finished 2nd in SEC in 2012 and 5th in SEC in 2013. I think you guys, whoever you are, might want to cut CCM some slack. Give the man a raise (not an extension) that would bring him up a few notches relative to other SEC coaches and see how we do with his recruits for a couple of years. And lastly, take the time to read what his current players have to say about what they think of CCM--I don't think there are many coaches that have the respect of their players that CCM does.

Do the words NIT mean anything to you. Making the NCAA's should be the benchmark, without that Martin has no leverage. IS there some threat that Martin will be snatched by a rival school for a pay raise? I think not. I thought UT was broke, no way it can cut employees and then reward a coach for not making the tournament.

oldster writes:

in response to johnlg00:

That is arguably the best point made so far. It seems to be the consensus of the board that next year will really tell the story long-term, which may be fair enough. However, to say that he is OVERPAID for what he has done so far is a bit much. Considering that UT is second in the SEC in attendance and has finished no worse than fifth under the 10th highest paid coach, UT is getting its money's worth and perhaps then some. That said, I think the administration should wait to talk extension. I thought he had only a three-year contract. After the third year of a five-year contract is plenty soon enough to talk about extensions if such seem to be warranted.

I will say that he has been overpaid for what he has produced so far. That UT has the attendance it has says more for the starvation that UT fans have for sports entertainment than the quality of the team. The team is average, at best. It came in 5th in one of the worst basketball leagues in the country (born out by how few got in the NCAA and how poorly the ones that have gotten in either tourney have fared so far) and got embarrased by a team that, in turn, got embarrassed by another average team. That being said, a contract should be honored by both parties or penalties paid for its breach. UT should pay him exactly what is contracted for until the end of next year. If he produces another NIT or less team, then out the door. If NCAA, then sign a new contract.

FWBVol writes:

Here's a thought, UT could give Martin an extension without upping the amount of the buyout if he is fired over the orginal buyout. By doing that Martin would have the security of telling recruits he's under contract through 2017 or whatever and UT can get rid of him at no additional charge if he doesn't get the job done.

WetumpkaThumpa writes:

in response to 1vavolfan:

If Martin gets a pay raise he should give half of it to Jarnell's family. If Stokes doesn't fall into Martin's lap then UT is sub-500 this year. Martin got him because no one else had a scholarship available.

What's your theory on how and why he got Hubbs to sign? I'm interested to know?

traderjoe writes:

When is Bruce Pearl's exile over?

totoiv writes:

I am still on the fence about Coach Martin. For every positive, there seems to be something that leaves you scratching your head. My worry is that next year's team, should, in theory, be a no brainer for the NCAA tourney. I think the talent will be so great, even an average coach can get them into the tourney. However, half of the team are still Pearl leftovers. To me, it is not the ability of the coach to get a stacked, talented team in the tourney. But, in those leaner years can he coach up talent and get them into the tourney. Martin has not shown that ability yet. He seems to loose two or three games per year that UT should win, and those end up killing us. I am afraid after getting into the tourney next year, Hart will give Martin a huge extension and then we will see a fall off the next year. The slow starts in both years is of concern.

John_10065 writes:

in response to WetumpkaThumpa:

What's your theory on how and why he got Hubbs to sign? I'm interested to know?

What theory?

They posted the story here on this very site when Hubbs signed!

Martin iced the deal by sending a handwritten cards to Hubbs' mom and his dad's mom wishing them a happy Mother's Day!

Pretty darn shrewd for a guy who can't recruit according to the "faithful".

Reported here September 18 2012. Look it up!

CoverOrange writes:

in response to thevoice:

Finishes 2nd and 5th in SEC, UT has the 7th (or so) largest BB attendance in the nation. Probably ought to be paid better then the 10th best coach in a 14-team league.

I'm thinking Tony Barbee is overpaid by a lot.

laraccoon writes:

in response to bosscat:

CCM hired March 2011--effectively after the recruiting season of 2011. NCAA violations and penalties loomed large thru early Spring 2012--effectively after the recruiting season of 2012. Nevertheless, CCM signed Stokes late in 2011, has recruited 5-star Hubbs, 2 well-thought of 3-star recruits and, most recently, got a commitment from Darius Thompson, an in-state player considered to be 4th best combo guard in country. Current recruiting class ranked 23rd nationally and will probably be ranked higher with Thompson coming on board. Lost probably best player in Maymon for the entire 2012-2013 season. Still finished 2nd in SEC in 2012 and 5th in SEC in 2013. I think you guys, whoever you are, might want to cut CCM some slack. Give the man a raise (not an extension) that would bring him up a few notches relative to other SEC coaches and see how we do with his recruits for a couple of years. And lastly, take the time to read what his current players have to say about what they think of CCM--I don't think there are many coaches that have the respect of their players that CCM does.

i have to admit your post makes alot of sense , i think alot of us forget about the NCAA cloud that was hanging over the programs head when Martin arrived .i do agree he has probably done well enough for a slight raise with no extension and then see how the remaining years on his contract pan out . i shudder to think what Hamilton would have done in this instance were he still here .

tnvol4ever writes:

in response to thevoice:

Finishes 2nd and 5th in SEC, UT has the 7th (or so) largest BB attendance in the nation. Probably ought to be paid better then the 10th best coach in a 14-team league.

With that kind of fan support you would think getting to the NCAA tourney would be virtually automatic. Not ready to throw Martin under the bus just yet, but his game planning and adjustments during the game (or lack thereof) are starting to resemble a former football coach.
A contract extension at this juncture is ridiculous. Look what just happened at UCLA and Minnesota and we are talking extension. I'm pretty sure UT can find a number of coaches out there that can get us to the NIT.

TheSmokyMountainThatRides writes:

no. we went from a tourney team every year. to nit failures under this man. make the tourney. that's it. then we should talk. everyone acts as if he took over a barren team. there were multiple top 100 players on his team. develop stokes better, make the tourney next year then you'll get your money.

DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho writes:

If I were Hart and Martin's agent approached me asking for an extension, I would fire Martin on principle...but then, if I were Hart, I would be a robot sent back in time to destroy UT athletics.

Martin has barely earned his contract salary. I hope that the "source" is wrong on this, because if Martin does believe he's entitled to an extension or a raise, then he's not the guy I thought he was. Maybe that's why his kids can't finish close games..they expect to be rewarded simply for showing up.

Why the hell did I not go into coaching college athletics? I hate it that I have to actually produce results to keep my current job. It's hard. I would also like to be paid if I fail and have to be fired because I'm destroying my company. That would be great!

crmcm44#321757 writes:

The inability to make scheme changes during the game is Coach Martin’s most troubling short coming. Other issues such as sloppy play and the low basketball IQ exhibited may or may not be due to Martins leadership, could be a team hard to coach. However his record and skill set certainly don't justify a salary increase or contract extension.

Nighthawk writes:

You usually renegotiate when the coach has performed above the bar as a reward, and is attracive to other schools willing to pay more.

Who else would want Martin at or above his current comp. If he is not happy, leave or honor the contract that he signed.

Tennfan4075 writes:

I have a hard time with why a coach is paid a $25,000 bonus for getting into the NIT. That should be a requirement for staying on the job, and as for extensions and raises that is normally done to prevent others from enticing him away and that does not seem to be the problem, the problem is lack of wins. UT should keep their hands in their pockets and not touch any contracts.

brod writes:

ut administration hasn't done much right since the hire of bruce pearl. surely they know it is not time to renew his contract. he hasn't won but two games agaisnt weak opponents in the post season. talk again next year.

JSmith525 writes:

in response to tomkats3242:

Martin is over paid for no more than he gives to the University. He is at best a junion college coach and he cannot recruit quality players. What he has gotten to play for UT would not make a good junior college team. If Hart gives him a raise than the University President should fire Hart also. Enough giving large contracts for nobody coachs.

It must really suck being you. Be careful or you will drown in all that misery you carry around with you. Life is actually too short as is you know, miserable living just makes it shorter. Cheer up. There is more to lfe than UT basketball. If the game is what's making you so miserable you should probably quit watching.

laraccoon writes:

in response to DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho:

If I were Hart and Martin's agent approached me asking for an extension, I would fire Martin on principle...but then, if I were Hart, I would be a robot sent back in time to destroy UT athletics.

Martin has barely earned his contract salary. I hope that the "source" is wrong on this, because if Martin does believe he's entitled to an extension or a raise, then he's not the guy I thought he was. Maybe that's why his kids can't finish close games..they expect to be rewarded simply for showing up.

Why the hell did I not go into coaching college athletics? I hate it that I have to actually produce results to keep my current job. It's hard. I would also like to be paid if I fail and have to be fired because I'm destroying my company. That would be great!

i'm sure Dunkin' Donuts would survive without you .

HazardKYVol writes:

They should have saved this article until April 1st.

mloaks#222092 writes:

A fine man, but wait til after next year.

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