Cuonzo Martin was introduced as the new Tennessee men’s basketball coach Monday afternoon in the Ray Mears Room at Thompson-Boling Arena.
“My family is overwhelmed and excited to become a part of the Vols family,” Martin said. “We will be successful.
“I think this is a Top 25 job, but the goal is to be the last team standing and be a national champion, and I think we can do that with the right pieces.”
Martin, 39, comes to the Vols by way of Missouri State, where he led the Bears to their first Missouri Valley Conference regular season title and a 26-9 record this season. According to UT officials, Martin’s contract will pay him $1.3 million annually for five seasons.
Tennessee’s memorandum of understanding with Cuonzo MartinEmployment contract will be for a term of five years, with an option for a two-year extension on the University’s discretion after a 24-month review.
Annual guaranteed compensation of $1,300,000 plus appropriate bonuses related to on-court and academic performance.
The initial term of the employment agreement will be extended year-for-year based upon the number of years the University receives one of the following from the NCAA: restrictions on recruiting, ban on postseason play, or a reduction of one or more scholarships.Martin was 61-41 over the past three seasons at Missouri State, and prior to that served as an assistant coach at Purdue since 2000, first under Gene Keady through 2005, and then Matt Painter.
The 6-foot-6 Martin played for Keady at Purdue from 1991-95, earning First Team All-Big Ten honors as a senior.
“He’s the best leader I ever had as a player,” said Keady, a six-time National Coach of the Year and the second-winningest coach in Big Ten history.
Monday’s press conference came one week to the day since UT fired Bruce Pearl in the wake of an NCAA investigation that has left the men’s basketball program facing 10 alleged major violations. Martin’s contract could be extended based on the severity of penalties Tennessee faces from the NCAA.
Tennessee will go before the NCAA Committee on Infractions on June 10-11 in Indianapolis.