My Thoughts On The New University Of Tennessee Coach, Cuonzo Martin
Who was Tennessee going to get to coach their basketball team? Was it going to be Jay Wright of Villanova? Jamie Dixon of Pittsburgh? Shaka Smart of Virginia Commonwealth? Well, none of these guys are the new coach. The new coach is Cuonzo Martin. I know a lot of fans are asking who he is, but trust me, he was a good hire.
Here’s a history lesson on the new coach. Martin is a East St. Louis, Illinois native who made his way to Purdue to play basketball for Gene Keady. Martin was known as a good all-around player who was tough and led by example. He led the Boilermakers to back-to-back Big 10 championships and led them to the Elite 8 as well. He later got drafted to play in the NBA and he played a couple seasons. He heard the call to coach in 2000 when he became an assistant on Keady’s staff. Martin stayed at Purdue until 2008 when he became the head coach of Missouri State. Missouri State was a bad program at the time he took over, but this year he improved them so much that they won the regular season championship in the Missouri Valley Conference and he was named Coach of The Year.
A bunch of Tennessee fans aren’t giving Martin a chance because he isn’t one of those big names. But in my estimation, what big name would really want to come to a program that’s about to be hit with sanctions? Besides, the last time Tennessee hired a head coach, they hired a coach out of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee that was spirited and had little exposure. He just needed a chance. That coach’s name was Bruce Pearl.
Before you judge Martin, you have to realize that just because he isn’t a big name coach, doesn’t mean he isn’t worthy of the position. I think he will be more than ready to take on the challenge that awaits him at Tennessee. After all, he learned under Gene Keady who also was the mentor for successful coaches like Matt Painter of Purdue and Steve Lavin of St. John’s.