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Report: Cuonzo Martin to become the new head coach at California

Apr 15, 2014, 1:23 PM EDT

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Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin has agreed to become the next head coach at California.

Martin was the head coach at Tennessee the past three seasons, leading them from the First Four to the Sweet 16 this past season. But there was a push in Knoxville to let Martin go, particularly among the fanbase, who circulated a petition to fire Martin and hire Bruce Pearl that received 36,000 signatures.

With Martin losing Jordan McRae and Jeronne Maymon to graduation and Jarnell Stokes to the NBA, he was looking at a rebuilding year, and a rebuilding year could have gotten him fired at this time next year. This was the right decision, and it wasn’t his first attempt at getting out. Martin was a finalist for the head coaching job at Marquette last month as well where he was beaten out by Steve Wojciechowski.

The head coaching position at Cal came open last month when Mike Montgomery retired.

Martin is walking into a good spot with the Golden Bears. They lose Justin Cobbs and Richard Solomon, but they return Tyrone Wallace, Jabari Bird, Jordan Mathews and Rick Kreklow, which makes for a talented perimeter core, as well as big man David Kravish. Martin can build around that.

The question now becomes who gets the Tennessee job, and one name that you should keep an eye on is Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall. Tennessee is a good gig, one with resources and a passionate fan base that competes in a conference where it’s not all that difficult to become the third-best program. Louisiana Tech’s Mike White and Donnie Tyndall of Southern Miss are two other names that could draw some interest.

  1. gborange - Apr 15, 2014 at 2:00 PM

    Should have fired him and hired Pearl the split second the NCAA gave the ok. In the middle of a tournament run or not!

    • icanhazblogs - Apr 15, 2014 at 3:23 PM

      Haha, TN fans can be hilarious

    • coryfor3 - Apr 15, 2014 at 5:00 PM

      Pearl is a side show. The interesting question I have: Why did Tennessee fans and boosters dislike Martin so much?

  2. fnc111 - Apr 15, 2014 at 2:35 PM

    Archie Miller here.

  3. jbaxt - Apr 15, 2014 at 2:52 PM

    Hilarious! Martin took a troubled program and put them in the sweet 16. I now look for TN to suck, Karma’s a b.

  4. sovereen - Apr 15, 2014 at 4:10 PM

    Marshall’s a really smart guy, There is no way he would have anything to do with that job at Tennessee.

  5. minibull - Apr 15, 2014 at 4:46 PM

    Martin came in a program left barren of talent after Pearl was fired, and improved the team each year. But his teams often under-performed and had little offensive ability. It was a good split for both if UT can hire a decent coach. The way Martin left (not meeting the players, interviewing on the side during a UT paid recruiting trip, taking or warning off recruits before resigning, etc.) leaves a bad taste, especially since his calling card is as the “honorable, moral” coach in a sea of snakes.

  6. minibull - Apr 15, 2014 at 5:20 PM

    It was nothing personal or racial against Martin, but Pearl conned his way into many UT fans’ hearts. He was a showman (mostly fluff) whose teams played hard almost every game. Martin was his complete opposite – quiet, stoic on the sidelines, and his teams struggled to play a complete game. His teams would often struggle one half then play incredible the other. And they played down to the competition many times.

  7. fnc111 - Apr 15, 2014 at 5:37 PM

    Tennessee fans don’t like black people as the face of their programs.

  8. annapterp - Apr 16, 2014 at 10:58 AM

    Smart move by Martin. He resurrected the TN program and got no respect. Let them go back to being nobody and move on to Cal and a much better situation and location.

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