Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin walks towards the bench during an NCAA Sweet 16 game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Photo by Adam Lau/News Sentinel
California's Athletic Director Sandy Barbour tweeted this photo of herself and Cuonzo Martin about 2:00pm Tuesday.
KNOXVILLE, TN (WRCB) -- Last we heard from Tennessee AD Dave Hart he was in contract negotiations with Cuonzo Martin. Now Hart is looking for Martin's replacement.
Cuonzo Martin resigned at Tennessee and accepted the head coaching position at the Cal.
In three years Martin lead the Vols to a 63-41 record including a 32-20 SEC record. In his one NCAA Tournament appearance he led the Vols to the Sweet-16.
His name began to pop up in coaching searches all over the nation. Two weeks ago Martin met with Marquette who was pursuing him but a day later he pulled his name out of that search and began negotiations with Tennessee and Dave Hart.
Hart said Martin had an offer on the table at UT worth $1.8million a year with a two year extension. It was a $500,000 raise that would have made Martin the third highest paid coach in the SEC.
Hart said, "what we offered Cuonzo would have made him a top-30 paid coach in the country. One man's opinion, I don't think Cuonzo's decision was driven by dollars or number of years, I don't. It was a tough year, I don't wanna speak for Cuonzo but it was a tough year for Cuonzo and Roberta (his wife.) A lot of distractions, you know what they were, you reported on them."
Martin's final season at UT was met with much criticism from fans and it included a petition to fire Martin and re-hire Bruce Pearl. Pearl is now Auburn's head coach.
Hart said the search for Martin's replacement is underway and they're looking for one of two types, "we would seek as a priority someone with head coaching experience. That doesn't eliminate anyone, it says that's our initial priority. We're looking for track record. You don't always end there, perhaps at the end of the day we don't attract someone with a significant track record. Perhaps we attract a rising star. I don't know, all that is hard to forecast. The rising star is different in terms of the financial package than a person with an outstanding track record. I'm looking for someone who is a winner."
On April 1st, Vols' AD Dave Hart said, "we are working on modifications to Cuonzo's current contract and will release details of those adjustments when finalized."
In that same release Martin said, "Tennessee is where I want to be. That has never changed. I have said many times over the past three years that I believe we have the resources and support to be the last team standing, and that belief has never been stronger. I appreciate the unrivaled passion of this fanbase and feel the responsibility to make those fans proud."