Tag:Cuonzo Martin
Posted on: May 24, 2011 5:28 pm

Cam Tatum talks about Cuonzo Martin

Posted by Eric Angevine

Last week, I visited Knoxville, Tennessee to get some idea of how Cuonzo Martin is faring as the new head basketball coach at UT. Before I met Coach, I got a chance to speak to the player he'll be relying on to provide senior leadership in the 2011-12 season: Cam Tatum. We spoke in the conference room of the men's basketball offices in Thompson-Boling arena.

After watching this, head over and read all about the new Volunteers head coach: Mr. Martin goes to Knoxville, makes an impression.

Posted on: May 12, 2011 4:21 pm
Edited on: May 12, 2011 4:22 pm

Martin's Tennessee contract has NCAA clauses

Posted by Eric Angevine

After Bruce Pearl admitted to NCAA violations, was punished by his employer and the SEC, and ultimately fired this past March, it stands to reason that new hire Cuonzo Martin would be held to some kind of formalized standard as a term of his contract.

According to the Memorandum of Understanding released by the Knoxville News Sentinel, the school's concern about possible upcoming NCAA sanctions cuts both ways. The document, which sets forth key stipulations in writing that will eventually be worked into the finalized contract, includes specific language detailing criteria that would render the deal invalid. Basically, if Martin somehow starts channeling his inner Pearl a couple of years from now, he can be fired summarily, just so everyone understands OK?

Perhaps more interesting, the administration cedes some security to Martin in the following passage:

If, as a result of currently pending NCAA proceedings, the men's basketball program (a) receives NCAA restrictions on recruiting in addition to those already self-imposed by the University; (b) banned from postseason play; or (c) incurs a reduction of one or more scholarships, then the initial term of employment will be extended year-for-year based upon the number of years the University (a) receives NCAA restrictions on recruiting in addition to those already self-imposed by the University; (b) banned from postseason play; or (c) incurs a reduction of one or more scholarships. In the event that any additional year(s) are added, the terms applicable to those additional year(s) will be the same as in year five.

In other (hopefully not too reductive) words, if UT takes a hit as a result of Bruce Pearl's mess, Martin gets an automatic contract extension, tacking on years commensurate with the number of years Martin must labor under sanctions imposed from Pearl's misdeeds. If the NCAA slaps a year's worth of sanctions on UT, Martin gets an extra "clean" year tacked on the end of his contract. Seems like a pretty decent way to handle the situation.

It's especially decent when you consider that Martin just went from making a reported $300,000 a year at Missouri State to $1.3 million at Tennessee. He'll be paid $25k as a moving allowance (not sure how many Mayflower vans that hires, but it sounds like a lot), and given the use of two (presumably swanky) loaner automobiles.

There are, of course, incentives. The lowest bars are set at $25,000, an amount Martin can earn for an NIT trip, but also for ensuring that his Vols earn a cumulative 2.75 GPA in any given academic year. An SEC regular-season championship is worth $100,000, and a National Championship nets the highest bonus at $200,000.

On the other hand, if Martin terminates the contract, presumably by taking another job, he owes the University a buyout of double his salary. If the University fires him with cause, he gets nada. If he's fired without cause, Tennessee must pay him 60 percent of his remaining compensation.

The hope for both parties is, we assume, to hand out the bonuses instead of having to hew to the more restrictive aspects of the memorandum. The final line of the letter outlines exactly what AD Mike Hamilton expects from Martin. "I have every confidence that you will lead our basketball program with integrity and pride," it reads.

Stopping the bleeding is job one. After that, the pressure to win will kick in at full force.

Read the full memorandum (pdf)

Photo: US Presswire
Posted on: April 27, 2011 3:23 pm

Vols' European vacation canceled

There's no place like home, unless the alternative is Italy in the summertime.

Posted by Eric Angevine

With a new coach, an undetermined roster and possible NCAA sanctions on the way, the University of Tennessee men's basketball program has elected to cancel a summer trip to Italy. According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, newly hired head coach Cuonzo Martin and UT athletics director Mike Hamilton agreed that the trip, planned when Bruce Pearl was still head coach of the Vols, would be an ill-timed distraction in the upcoming transitional season.

Hamilton said with UT scheduled to play in the Maui Invitational in Hawaii this November, an overseas trip would have been pushing things from a travel standpoint.

Martin expressed concerns about the overseas trip from the time of his hiring with the Vols for a couple of reasons.

For one, Tennessee would have trouble filling out a roster, particularly if either or both Scotty Hopson and Tobias Harris elects to keep their names in the NBA draft.

Secondly, Martin has committed to serving as an assistant to Purdue coach Matt Painter at the World University Games in China from Aug. 12-23 in Shenzhen, China. The training camp to select the 12-member USA team will be July 30-Aug. 8 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

"It will be better to wait a year for the trip because then we can get a feel for our players,'' Martin said. "When you take those trips, you're also building team camaraderie. It's always a beneficial trip, playing five or six games and getting the extra practice.''

The NCAA allows teams to make overseas trips once every four years, which means extra practice and playing time beyond the traditional fall start.

Oregon was scheduled to make a similar trip last season, and then-newly-hired head coach Dana Altman also decided to re-schedule. As fun and educational as such a trip might be, perhaps both coaches have the right idea - when in doubt, circle the wagons at home (when you're not personally busy in China, that is).

It's not as if the players on the current roster can really complain. As AD Hamilton indirectly pointed out in the excerpt above, Hawaii in November should be a pretty nice consolation prize for anyone feeling agita over the change in plans.

Photo: US Presswire
Posted on: April 12, 2011 5:04 pm

New UT coach Martin pursuing Memphis talent

Posted by Eric Angevine

I've said before that Cuonzo Martin's first job at Tennessee is to refrain from embarrassing the school any further. He should be able to do that easily. The hard part comes next. He must try to retain Bruce Pearl's recruits and find a few more who can play. That's not going to be easy at all with NCAA sanctions looming on the horizon.

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In addition to the chilling effect of likely sanctions, Martin will have to deal with an uncertain scholarship situation in the short term. Both Scotty Hopson and Tobias Harris are flirting with the NBA, which means their two scholarships are not definitively available when the signing period begins on April 13. That has never stopped a coach from over-recruiting, but neither does it help Martin stabilize a tough situation.

Right now, Martin seems to be pursuing mostly guards. He has offered 6-foot-5 Oklahoma native Josh Richardson and is expecting a visit from 6-4 Kevin Ware from Georgia as well. Aside from those out-of-staters, Martin is, quite sensibly, zeroing in on talent from relatively nearby Memphis, Tennessee.

His first goal was to nail down the commitment of 5-10 Chris Jones, a Pearl signee who seems to be leaning toward honoring his commitment. GoVolsExtra.com details several other players from the city who could form the backbone of UT's team if the chips fall Martin's way:

A list of Memphis players Martin is recruiting with graduating class in parenthesis: Jarnell Stokes, Memphis Central (2012); Andre Applewhite, Memphis Central (2012); Austin Nichols, Briarcrest Christian (2013); Jonathan Williams, Southwind (2013), Leron Black, White Station, (2014).

Martin has also looked into some possible junior college transfers with size, but has yet to gain much of a foothold with anyone who can play inside.

Martin recently offered a scholarship to 6-1 Iowa point guard Wes Washpun, so at least one of those 2011 spots may be spoken for.

Martin has a tough job ahead of him, and the early recruiting period will be his first major test. His earnest ways may sway some recruits, but a serious sales pitch will be required if he is to convince top-level talent to take a chance on the Volunteers.

Photo: US Presswire
Posted on: March 27, 2011 8:28 pm
Edited on: March 27, 2011 8:37 pm

Cuonzo Martin will be good for Tennessee

Posted by Eric Angevine

The news just became official: The University of Tennessee has moved quickly to fill the coaching vacancy left by the firing of Bruce Pearl, and has hired Cuonzo Martin of Missouri State.

Martin is a 39-year-old former Purdue player, a product of the Gene Keady coaching tree. Martin played for Keady from 1991-1995. His NBA career was over in 1997, and by 2000, he was back in West Lafayette as an assistant. That led to his hiring as head coach at Missouri State in 2008.

The hiring of Martin works on a couple of levels for Tennessee. First, Martin seems to be a good coach. Second, he looks like a genuinely good person.

If Bruce Pearl was the slick, popular car salesman, Martin is the humble church deacon. He may not entertain like Pearl did. He most definitely will not appear shirtless and painted orange for any reason. What he will do is win coaching awards and speak from the heart about what it takes to be a good man. We know this, because he gave this moving speech after being named Missouri Valley coach of the year this season:

Only the most cynical fan could look at that and think that Martin is anything but a genuinely decent man who will fly the Vols program straight and be a good mentor to his charges.

That's how we know he's a good man. We know he's tough, because he's survived a bout with cancer at age 26. How do we know he's a good coach?

Truthfully, the evidence is slim, but all good. He learned from Keady as a player and assistant coach. He worked with Matt Painter, the current Boilermakers coach. No doubt both can and did vouch for Martin in the process of the coaching search. When Missouri State was looking for a replacement for Barry Hinson in 2008, they tabbed Martin, and he turned the mediocre program around quickly. His first season was an 11-20, injury-riddled mess, but the team did manage to beat Arkansas in the non-conference season before sliding to 10th in league play. The next season, the Bears were 24-12 and 7th in the MVC and played in the CIT. This past season, Missouri State went 26-9 and won a dramatic final home game over Wichita State to claim the school's first regular-season Missouri Valley title. The tourney title eluded the Bears, who made it to the second round of the NIT.

So, admittedly, in some ways, this was a cosmetic hire. Martin doesn't have any direct head-coaching experience with the NCAA tournament, and his bio is short. But the University of Tennessee has been in a world of hurt over the past three seasons, with scandal dogging the football and basketball programs. To get ahold of a man who has a spotless reputation, a direct and forthright manner, and the potential to right the reeling program quickly is about as good as the Vols could have done under the circumstances.

We'll know more about what Martin will have to work with (and against) when the NCAA has its say in upcoming months. That's when the transfers will likely start and recruiting will become difficult. Martin knew all of that coming in. Tennessee backers are going to have to have a lot of patience with their athletic program over the next few years. But they can rest assured that Cuonzo Martin has a plan, and he won't embarrass them any further.

All things considered, that's a big win for a program that has been dragged through the mud recently.

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Posted on: March 19, 2011 10:09 pm
Edited on: March 20, 2011 12:32 am

Report: Mizzou's Mike Anderson to Arkansas

Per reports, Mike Anderson is headed back to Arkansas

Posted by Eric Angevine

Nolan Richardson left the University of Arkansas in 2002. The team hasn't been back to the Final Four since, and Richardson hasn't coached in college again.

If reports are true, Arkansas is about to get the next best thing. Missouri head coach Mike Anderson, who played for Richardson at Tulsa and coached under him at Arkansas for 17 years, is expected to accept the head coaching job recently vacated by John Pelphrey.

The news hit tonight via a tweet from Chris Lincoln, Sports Director at KTUL-TV in Tulsa:

Reports out of Arkansas say Mizzou coach Mike Anderson to be introduced tomorrow in Fayetteville as Razorbacks new head basketball coach.
CBSSports.com's Gary Parrish has updated this story with the latest news from his sources. The sources agree that the deal is likely to be finalized soon, but that nothing official can be announced until some details are worked out.

Anderson has always run his own version of the high-pressure "Forty Minutes of Hell" system Richardson used to win the 1994 national championship.

If this press conference does, indeed, happen, will Mizzou take a look at Missouri State head coach Cuonzo Martin? Or will they lean toward a big name from outside their back yard?

More NCAA tournament coverage
Posted on: March 7, 2011 10:51 am
Edited on: March 7, 2011 6:13 pm

Coach Speak: Les out, Lickliter in at Bradley?

Jim Les is out despite a Sweet Sixteen run at Bradley

Posted by Eric Angevine

Hot Seat

We’ve come to the time of year when the coaching carousel really gets going. Postseason tournament losses will lead to a few coaches being unceremoniously pushed off the merry-go-round over the next few days. Here’s a link to help you keep track of who’s out, who’s interim, and who eventually gets the job.

The latest firing is so fresh, we might as well dig into it right now. Bradley University has fired Jim Les (above), the coach who engineered a Sweet 16 run in 2006, after an early loss in the Missouri Valley tournament. His Braves famously beat No. 4 seed Kansas and No. 5 Pitt before their run was ended by Memphis in ’06, but it was an issue of diminishing returns thereafter that cost Les his job after nine seasons. He made the second round of the NIT in ’07, the CBI finals in ’08 and the CIT finals in ’09. The past two seasons, it was losing records and no postseason play at all.

Les seems like someone who will catch on elsewhere fairly soon. Plenty of programs are going to want a guy with a second-weekend NCAA tournament run on his resume. As for a possible replacement, Jeff Rabjohns of the Indianapolis Star tweeted this possibility this morning: “I've heard former Butler coach Todd Lickliter's name in connection with the Bradley job. Lickliter led Butler to 2 Sweet 16s.” Lickliter has been out of work for a year after a brutal stretch at Iowa, and he’d be a great get for this program.

**UPDATE: Dennis Dodd is reporting that Texas Tech head coach Pat Knight has been fired and will depart after the Big 12 tournament. Additionally, Kennesaw State of the Atlantic Sun conference has fired head coach Tony Ingle, and CAA cellar-dweller Towson will be without the services of Pat Kennedy, who 'resigned'.**

Quotable Coaches

This week, we’re all about giving the mic to some guys who’ve clinched their tickets to the Big Dance.

“This is tremendous, and I can't be prouder of the way our guys played. Our inside guys played great defense on their post players and our wing men did a great job of coming down and pressuring the ball,”

-Asheville head coach Ed Biedenbach gives a tactical assessment of how his Bulldogs beat 1-seed Coastal Carolina in the Big South final.

“I don’t really know what to say about this team. Thirty wins, it just was not even thought about.”

-Belmont coach Rick Byrd shows his humble side after destroying North Florida in the A-Sun final.

"I thought before the season, he was the most talented guard in our league," Morehead Coach Donnie Tyndall said. "I pleaded with him to be aggressive. Tonight, you saw what he can do when he does. He came up huge."

-Morehead State coach Donnie Tyndall deflects a little of Kenneth Faried’s sunshine onto Faried’s roomate, senior guard Demonte Harper, who scored 27 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and dished 8 assists to lead his team back to the NCAA tournament.

“Really, all my thoughts were basically I wanted it so bad for these guys. They deserve it. Like I said, there’s never been a more deserving group of guys, and that they get to enjoy this means the world to me.”

-Rookie Indiana State head coach Greg Lansing, after upsetting top seed Missouri State in the Missouri Valley final.

And, while we're talking about the Missouri Valley, huge hat tip to MSUBearNation, who shared this link to an emotional, inspirational coach of the year acceptance speech delivered by Cuonzo Martin:

We don't know if Martin's Bears will make the NCAA cut or not, but we know he's tough enough to handle it, whichever way the ball bounces. Missouri State is lucky to have him.

Photo: US Presswire
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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com