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Cuonzo Martin leaves Tennessee for California

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Ready for a mid-afternoon shocker? Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin has agreed to become the next coach at California, sources tell ESPN’s Jeff Goodman. Cuonzo just finished his third season in Knoxville, and, despite a disappointing regular season, took the Vols to the Sweet 16.

Despite Tennessee’s postseason run, it’s clear that there’s not a lot of love lost between Cuonzo, the Tennessee administration, and fans. A few months ago, 36,000 fans signed a petition for Bruce Pearl to take Cuonzo Martin’s job, and a few weeks after Martin publicly stated he would return and one day after UT pulled in a commitment from 7’1″ Kingsley Okoroh, he’s taking off for Cal.

Not to be all Forde here, but you’ve made your bed, Volunteer fans…

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

98 Comments for Cuonzo Martin leaves Tennessee for California



  1. Azubuike's Bicep
    1:59 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

    If only Bruce Pearl hadn’t already taken the Auburn job.



    • TD
      5:08 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      Huge blow to UT…first Jarnell Stokes, now this.
      I think Counzo was the classiest guy to head up the Vols in a long time, maybe ever.
      I don’t think Brucie would be an option even if he was available. He was fired for a reason and I doubt he would be hired back…Although I’m sure many Vol would love to have him back at the helm.



    • The Chevy Hitter
      5:14 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      If uavel can hire Pitino (former KENTUCKY coach) and if uavel can hire back Petrino (who left uavel for greener pastures and likely will do that again as well as frocked over Arthur Blank plus the stunts pulled at ARK)…..then I don’t see a problem with Tennessee hiring back Bruce Pearl at all. In fact, that is a good ‘hire-back’…..if you are in such a position.



  2. JohnBoy
    2:00 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

    Wow!!! That would be a hard hit in the gut for Vol’s fans.



    • jus sayin
      2:08 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      No they wanted him gone. They seem to be under the impression that they could do better than the sweet 16



    • JohnBoy
      2:17 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      I was refering to their desire to have Bruce Pearl back, and now he is taken. Sucks for them this didn’t happen earlier.



  3. Big blue
    2:00 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

    Why… He’s stupid



    • DB11
      3:29 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      California > Tennessee

      So no, he’s not stupid, stupid.



  4. Rei
    2:01 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

    Leaving UT and their idiot fans for California is not a stupid move. He took them to the tournament an they still wanted him gone and the university wouldn’t let him use school planes for recruiting. I’d have left too.



  5. Miss Nomer
    2:05 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

    A cautionary tale. When internet bitching goes bad — the “Cuonzo Effect”?



    • jus sayin
      2:10 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      I hope so. People need to learn that lesson



  6. BlueintheLou
    2:05 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

    Vol fans are asking for Marshall? Anyway that happens?



    • jus sayin
      2:19 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      The short answer is no… The long answer is HELLL NO!



    • macon_volfan
      3:31 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      Maybe…he wanted the job the last 2 times it was open. Maybe third time is a charm…..



  7. The Loco Pollo
    2:08 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

    Bruce Pearl’s attorneys are probably hard at work right now.



  8. Laker Cat 18
    2:11 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

    I guess it’s easier to out-recruit UCLA and USC than it is UK and Florida.



    • NYCayts
      2:58 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      Not to mention that anywhere in California >>>>> the dump that is Knoxville.



  9. L1C6
    2:14 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

    “Ready for a mid-afternoon shocker”….um well which hand?



    • Chris
      3:58 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      Well played. Five star comment!



  10. Steve
    2:15 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

    Gregg Marshall would be a fool to go to the PIT that is UT athletics. He should ask Cuonzo just what he really thinks about the Big Orange Fan Base. That Auburn game would really be fun next year huh Gregg.



    • Rei
      2:19 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      I agree with this, but Auburn won’t be like Tennessee was under Pearl.



  11. MC
    2:18 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

    Nothing sucks like Big Orange



  12. dewskilowe
    2:18 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

    Yo Vol fans don’t wish for something you just might get it!! hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!! I bet they tell people they are going after Marshall, but in reality here is the list they should look at! Donnie Tyndall, Ray Harper, Seth Greenburg, Steve Massiello, Joe Dooley, John Pelphrey, Steve Prohm.



  13. asdf
    2:22 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

    Stupid of UT to let him go. He was turning UT into a solid program and doing it the right way, not with 2-dollar thugs the way Pearl did it. This shows a lack of commitment at UT for men’s basketball. The SEC just took a step backward unless they can bring in someone hot.



  14. Catfanran
    2:23 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

    I was told this in Jan. a friend of mine lives in Knott Co. where the Justice kid lives and plays and he was told by Cuonzo that he would not be there when he graduates and he should look else where to play ball.. He with drew his offer and re -opened it and now on Indiana top hit list….CFR



  15. Billy Clyde Gillespie
    2:23 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

    I’m looking for a job.



    • Chris
      4:01 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      Just remember Coach, Tennessee whiskey is a far cry from Kentucky bourbon…..probably doesn’t bother you either way though.



    • SCCat
      4:11 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      that would be awesome and funny



  16. Steve
    2:24 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

    No way Bruce P goes back to UT as UT admin. threw him under the NCAA bus by telling NCAA that Bruce lied to UT and the NCAA about the recruiting BS so UT wouldn’t get killed with sanctions.

    Kinda hard to go back to the NCAA and ask for Bruce to come back to UT when you told the NCAA 2 years ago what a cheating SOB he was and you had no idea about it.



    • BigBlue1976
      2:29 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      I agree with you, but UT doesn’t have to go to the NCAA to ask for anything. His show cause time period is over.



    • Steve
      2:33 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      Show Cause is not over till Aug I think.



    • BigBlue1976
      2:41 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      You are correct. But for all intents and purposes it is over. Basketball starts in November. Auburn didn’t have to ask permission, Pearl just has to sit back and not do anything until August.



    • NYCayts
      3:02 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      True about the UT administration but Bruce lied and put them in that position and he knows that and owns it. He still loves Knoxville & UT and lived there the past few years. He might still own his home, I don’t know what he’s done since accepting the Auburn job. Bruce doesn’t hold grudges over the whole thing because it’s his fault. Look no farther than the fact that he’s working at Auburn under the head investigator of his case from the NCAA.



    • Steve
      3:09 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      So under this reasoning maybe Bruce could just ask the NCAA for a transfer i.e. like he’s graduated in 3 years and wants to transfer from Auburn to Tennessee and bring the lead NCAA investigator with him. Ha Ha



  17. AaronJ
    2:24 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

    He is horrible and got lucky in the tournament, UT is left with nothing and will be a horrid team next year. If I was a Vols fan I would be thrilled.



    • asdf
      2:29 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      Martin is a solid coach. His kids play extremely hard, they behave themselves for the most part, and they are fundamentally sound. He’s a quality coach. He inherited a cesspool down there and has done a fine job straightening out the most corrupt den of vipers in the SEC.



  18. arlo
    2:25 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

    pearl’s lawyer ‘Loophole Lebowitz’ is now working unlimited overtime.



  19. Eight Letters
    2:26 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

    Living in Knoxville, I am having the day of my life. The Tennessee fans are in complete meltdown. half wanted Cuonzo, half wanted Bruce Pearl……now they have neither!

    Report is that Cuonzo did not even meet with his players….and to make it worse, he took a 7-1 Vol commit with him too. The kid (Kingsley Okoroh) decommitted from UT after Cuonzo announcement, then committed to Californina 3 minutes later!



  20. Randy Jenkins #1VOLFAN
    2:26 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

    Whatever, I don’t care. Cuonzo Martin = Billy Gillispie in the eyes of this VOL4LYFE. Whoever we get, it will be a rude awaikening for the Kitty Cats of Lexington when the Orange Crush comes to town.



    • Steve
      2:32 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      Your brain…. Your brain on meth…



    • BigBlue1976
      2:32 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      I think that is the worst attempt at trolling I have ever seen. We fear no one, especially UT. And with the roster we’ll have next year, please sir, try again.



    • Moose
      2:33 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      ^ already hitting the whiskey bottle huh? It’s 5:00 somewhere. There has never been a coach at UT that has been a rude awakening for the Cats. What’s the series record? BCG was a bad coach at a great basketball school. Martin was a decent coach at an okay basketball school, please stop the comparison. or keep it up, it’s actually funny.



    • Al/in/Indy
      2:34 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      AND you’re as dumb as any fan. Much less a VOLSFAN ha ha ha ha Your basketball team couldn’t find their collective asses in the dark with both hands free!



    • beavis
      2:37 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      WHAT???? What is an awaikening???? Don’t they have a damn spell check in Knoxville ? Bring your Orange Crush ass to Lexington. The Cats will wait for you.



    • BrownStar25
      2:50 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      Randy I hate the vols, but i like your style dude.



    • Morehead Cat
      3:22 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      No coach, Stokes leaving early, long time before the Orange is crushing anything in any sport



    • asdf
      4:49 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      This guy reminds me of the dude online who does those “Stone Cold ET” skits…



  21. Al/in/Indy
    2:28 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

    Well they should’ve been more careful what they wished for……I hear Clappy the clown is looking for a place where he can maybe win a few more games a year than what he does at IU.



  22. No Matter How You Slice It
    2:32 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

    California>Tennessee. Period.



    • Laker Cat 18
      2:36 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      To a fan, yes. To a coach, no. I’m surprised. Tennessee is the better job.



    • NYCayts
      3:05 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      You serious, Clark? Of course to a coach the Cal job is better than Tennessee. Bernie & Ernie ain’t walking through that door.



    • No Matter How You Slice It
      3:07 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      I’m purely talking quality of life. Berkely>Knoxville. Period.



  23. Laker Cat 18
    2:33 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

    Tom Crean should apply. I’m not kidding. His days are numbered at IU.



    • Al/in/Indy
      2:37 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      They (Indy Star) did a survey about Crean 3 weeks ago…..68% wanted him gone……
      Maybe Melloncamp (one of the guys who pooled their money to buy Sampson’s contract out) can dig a little deeper in his pocket!



    • Laker Cat 18
      2:45 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      That’s funny. LOL. He is a decent recruiter, but can’t coach a lick. I’d say he has one more year at best…he better perform this coming year. However, with what he has coming in, I’d bolt NOW.



    • Laker Cat 18
      2:46 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      And I’d also like to welcome James Blackmon to UK if he did leave IU right now.



    • Steve
      2:52 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      Coach Clappy’s buyout is in the neighborhood of $7,0mil for 2014-15 and $5,0mil for 2015-16. This was negotiated after the back to back sweet 16 runs Clappy had 2 years ago. AD Glass at IU must be the stupidest AD in the country. Melloncamp needs to go back on the road for the next 5 years to get that contract bought out.



    • BrownStar25
      2:53 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      i’ll never forget that smirk on his face when he won the big 10 last year and he was wolfing that old man about how he brought back IU from the dead. Man karma works fast.



  24. L1C6
    2:35 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

    MaconVolFan: what says you??



    • macon_volfan
      3:36 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      Eh. I’m sad in the fact that Cuonzo seems like a stand up guy who didn’t deserve that crap that the Vol fan base gave him. He was the guy who followed THE GUY, and that’s hard for anyone.

      From a coaching/recruiting perspective, I’m excited. I think the Vols underachieved this year, and the Sweet 16 run was a bit tainted with Mercer being in the place of Duke and UMass being the most over seeded 6 of all time.

      Besides, coaching searches are fun!!!



    • L1C6
      4:02 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      that’s a good way to look at it. I wish yall the best of luck. I’m not a UT hater like lots of the tools on here. I’d rather the SEC be more competitive.



    • TNO
      5:03 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      Agree. I really hoped Tennessee would get to play/beat Duke. I had Tennessee’s run picked exactly right, just over different teams. Lived in Knoxville for a lot of years, a lot of good people there.



  25. beavis
    2:40 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

    LOL,,,,first Kiffin and now Martin.



  26. Steve Assiello
    2:40 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

    dos the jobe requare eny scoolin??



  27. ribin
    2:40 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

    Best of luck to Coach Martin — he did a great job at UT under bad (fan/administration) conditions and being classy, he’s got a better gig.



    • Laker Cat 18
      2:51 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      Please explain to me how California is a better job than Tennessee. If there is any difference, I would say UT is the better job, especially in the modern era. Cal hasn’t done anything past 1960.



    • Rei
      2:57 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      California was good back in 09-10. Same year UT went to the elite 8. What has UT done? No final fours, no SEC titles.



    • Teachable Mo'
      3:12 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      Cal is a better job than UT because — barring an earthquake — Berkeley is a much better place to live than Knoxville.



    • asdf
      4:44 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      UT and Cal are probably pretty much equal in basketball stature, but this is about Martin looking for a lateral move to get away from the idiots in UT’s fan base and administration. Marquette would have been a step down, so he said no. Cal was lateral, so he took it.



  28. Shut Up
    2:45 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

    What’s amazing to me is not that Martin left UT, it’s that the UK fans on here are calling UT fans out for not supporting their coach and running him out of town. Do you fools not remember the comments on here in late January and most of February? Three quarters of you wanted Cal gone and were trash talking your coach and his players for six weeks so don’t act like you’re model fans. You’re probable worse than anybody.



    • Laker Cat 18
      2:48 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      I must be in that 25% that did not want Cal gone. I don’t remember 3/4 of the fan base saying anything like that. You’re obviously an outsider. 95% of the BBN is a model for fans everywhere. However, that 5% we unfortunately have seems to have voices that carry weight.



    • Steve
      2:56 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      Yeah, That 35,000 people traffic jam I rode in out of Indianapolis late one Sunday nite in March must have been a figment of my imagination.



    • Miggity Mike
      3:12 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      Someone likes to exaggerate…………….and 3/4 of people are 100% wrong half of the time (sarcasm).



  29. Jughead
    2:46 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

    Knoxville is literally one of the dirtiest dumpin the US. I’d hate to live there.



    • TNO
      5:08 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      A lot better place to live than Lexington if you like pretty girls, partying, good restaurants, water activities, and golf. Still a good market for the tech industry due to Oak Ridge and the medical/imaging industry on Pellissippi. Music scene is not bad either. Outside of Keeneland and UK basketball, I can’t really think of any advantages of living in Lexington (have lived both places.)



  30. yeahright
    2:49 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

    I personally like Cuonzo. The main thing that bothers me about this is simply this: if this had happened at KY, if 36,000 signed a goofy petition to get rid of, say, Tubby… ALL the media would be yelling RACISTS! However, you won’t hear a peep of that about the Tennessee gig.

    Just sayin…



    • BrownStar25
      2:57 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      I don’t even know what racist means anymore. It is used by so often that it’s just like the boy who cried wolf.



    • Blue
      3:35 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      Yes by all means lets turn this into some sort of discussion on race…..



    • beavis
      3:48 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      Yep,,,agree, term is used way to much. Definition has been diluted so much if you drink the wrong kind of beer you have people calling you racist. Tool of a weak mind.



    • JBCat
      4:05 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      I agree. Media and KY BBall haters seem to save the ‘racist’ tag for KY fans, when it just as easily could be falsely thrown around for a lot of other schools’ and fans’ actions around the country…



  31. Big Mike In the Wood
    3:04 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

    Good move for Cuonzo. Enjoy that Cali weather! You earned it by living in hell hole Tennessee.



  32. fatcattx
    3:13 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

    UT should throw everything they can to get Josh Pastner to leave Memphis….. he is a proven recruiter,not a bad in game coach… and has proven to be able to sustain a program.. he would really help the SEC …..



  33. Matt Stearsman Junior
    3:44 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

    Word out is they are going to make a big push for Travis Ford as he is on the hot seat at Okl St. Would be a great hire as he will bring in Phelphry with him



    • macon_volfan
      3:48 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      I’ll cease to be a fan if that happens. I can’t stand Ford. Goes back to his Campbellsville days…..what a jerk!



    • beavis
      3:53 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      Why would the UT faithful want to bring in Ford if he is on the out at Ok State ? AD there may be under some pressure to hit a home run this hire. Not sure Phelphry would leave Gainesville for Knoxville. Will be interesting.

    • He can wear almost the same orange.



    • TNO
      5:12 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

      Why would anybody want to hire Pelphrey? Personality? No. Past record at Arkansas? No. Maybe for his last second defensive efforts? That must be it.



  34. KnowYourHistory
    3:54 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

    This is sad. Regardless of the other teams in the SEC, it helps us for the conference to be better. I think Cuonzo helped the us. I think the SEC was underrated, but it’s hard to change that option unless you go out and beat down the other conferences.

    As for the Vols fans who are happy about this, Bernard King is not walking through that door.



  35. RealCatsFan
    3:58 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

    All of this makes for great comedy from the outside looking in, and I know UT is a big rival for UK, especially for fans in southern KY. However, the flip side of this is that it will continue to erode the strength of the SEC as a whole in basketball. I was actually glad to see UT make some noise in the NCAA Tourney. For so long it has been UK and UF, and most of the time UF chokes in the Dance. It’s about time for some of these also-ran SEC basketball programs to get their shizit together and put a decent product on the court.



  36. Yeah but...
    4:12 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

    As much gloating as I see on this page about Martin leaving you’d think that our canvass was as irrational. BUT I recall a lot of idiots posting hateful things about Calipari and some of our players before our tournament run. #hypocritical.



  37. seriously
    5:18 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

    Always happy for someone when they get out of Knoxville. Sucks for the SEC but congrats to Cuonzo.



  38. Pat Summit
    11:18 pm April 15, 2014 Permalink

    I had a good candidate’s name written down….damn, where’d I put that paper?



    • beavis
      7:33 am April 16, 2014 Permalink

      Thats cruel man,,,,,,funny but cruel. LOL



  39. Bobby Knight's shrink
    9:05 am April 16, 2014 Permalink

    I don’t “dislike” UT basketball per se….until I hear “Rocky Top”….THEN I want to yak !!