Tag:Mike Hamilton
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: March 18, 2011 3:49 pm
Edited on: March 18, 2011 8:16 pm

With distractions abundant, UT 'just quit'

Posted by Chip Patterson
March 18, 2011

CHARLOTTE - After a week of distractions regarding head coach Bruce Pearl's job security, it was a relief to finally get the student-athletes on the floor and let the basketball do the talking. Unfortunately the message his Tennessee team sent with their play was one of a defeated team. As they failed to rally from a second half defect and eventually fell to Michigan 75-45.

Tennessee forced the issue early, taking advantage of a Michigan frontline that could not compete with Tennessee's strength and size. Freshman forward Tobias Harris exploded for 19 points on 6-6 shooting and converted all seven free throw attempts in the first half. Tennessee clearly made Michigan guard Tim Hardaway, Jr. a priority, with Cameron Tatum shadowing his every move on the defensive end.

All eyes were centered on Pearl, and there he was screaming out offensive and defensive assignment with large arm motions and his familiar stomp. So basically it was just another game for the head coach of the Volunteers.

Michigan caught fire near the end of the first half driven by back-to-back threes after starting the half shooting 1 for 9 from deep. Pearl remained calm on the bench, but the frustrated look on Cameron Tatum's face after another missed opportunity showed the Volunteers getting sluggish. With less than 30 seconds remaining, Harris changed that all with a slam dunk of a Brian Williams assist.  Michigan quickly drove the length of the floor as Darius Morris converted on a hook shot just before the buzzer.  It was the perfect momentum swinger before the break, and the beginning of the end for the Volunteers.

Then the Wolverines came out of the halftime break with hopes of landing a knockout punch early. They brought the Big Blue faithful to their feet with a 21-4 run in the first eight minutes of the half. Tennessee struggled to answer any of Michigan's challenges. It was difficult to figure out whether it was Tennessee's inability to fire themselves up or cool the Wolverines, but the Volunteers looked helpless as they fell into a 14 point deficit by the first official timeout.

By the midpoint of the second half, the Volunteers had begun to lose their will.  The Wolverines calmly milked a significant double-digit lead while the Volunteers defeated themselves possession after possession. Being outworked on the boards, Tennessee was outrebounded 35-24 by a team which they could have easily overpowered inside. When it was time for Tennessee to dig in deep and mount a comeback, they took poor jump shots and added to their count of 18 turnovers.

So what does that reflect about their head coach? This could have been any other two teams in the tournament and you would have doubted the team's preparation. But with this specific case for Tennessee, it is the first spot you put the blame.  When the media began questioning a somber Volunteer bunch regarding their coach after the game, they did not shy away from the controversy caused by athletic director Mike Hamilton.

"Of course it was a distraction, off-court and what not," remarked senior guard Melvin Goins. "But it is our responsibility as players to step up."

Junior guard Scotty Hopson also put the responsibility on the veteran players, for not pulling the unit together as a team. As for freshman Tobias Harris' explanation of the meltdown against Michigan?

"We just quit," Harris answered plainly.

What will likely get lost in the mix is a phenomenal run by Michigan to start the half. The Wolverines have shown how dangerous they can be recently, entering Friday's contest having won seven of their last ten. But even with Tatum stuck to Tim Hardaway, Jr. like glue, Michigan found production elsewhere on the floor.

Michigan head coach John Beilein deserves a ton of credit for getting his team ready to knockout a beaten giant. After all Tennessee has been to the NCAA tournament all six years under Pearl's tenure, reaching the Sweet Sixteen four times. Beilein, in just his fourth season as head coach of the Wolverines has already gotten Big Blue to the tournament twice.  Considering the issues surrounding the program in the last two decades, Beilein's early success is reason for Wolverine fans to believe in hoops once again.

Beilein now returns to the floor, wondering how he can figure out a way to beat Duke. Bruce Pearl, on the other hand, returns to Knoxville. His challenge is far different: figure out a way to keep his job.

More NCAA tournament coverage
Posted on: March 17, 2011 6:17 pm
Edited on: March 17, 2011 7:01 pm

UT's off-court issues could affect on-court focus

Posted by Chip Patterson

CHARLOTTE - Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl stammered his way through the mandatory news conference on Thursday, trying to redirect attention towards the Volunteers' matchup with Michigan the next day. But media members in attendance had little interest in getting answers on Pearl's plan to stop Tim Hardaway, Jr.

"I know there's going to be a lot of questions regarding my status, so I'll address that first and then we'll move on to questions," Pearl said as he opened his time with the media.

But there was no moving on. Just as the players were, Pearl was grilled from all directions on his job security. All of this of course stemming from athletic director Mike Hamilton's comments to a local radio station. When asked if Pearl would coach next season, Hamilton said "we don't know that answer today."

Pearl is scheduled to defend himself in front of the NCAA infractions committee in June. There he will plead his case as to why providing false/misleading information to the NCAA does not deserve the harshest of punishments. Pearl said something particularly interesting when asked if he foresaw himself as the Volunteers head coach at that hearing.

"You know up until recently, I would," Pearl answered. "That's still the case. The announcement was I'm going to be evaluated, and so how much of a departure from what's been said, I'll find out when I get evaluated."

But how will all these distractions effect the Volunteers against Michigan tomorrow. The players could not dodge the question, no matter how hard they tried. They all say the focus is there, but there is certainly room to doubt. However, when asked, the players do seem to believe Pearl's job is safe.

"I fully anticipate Coach Pearl to be back next year," said junior guard Cameron Tatum. "As all my teammates said earlier, we can only worry about controlling what we do in between those lines and focus on our preparation for the game."

The players are saying all the right things, that's for sure. But if there was an "intangibles" advantage heading into tomorrow afternoon's second round tip (12:40 ET, truTV), it definitely favors the Wolverines.
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