Missouri hires Cuonzo Martin as men’s basketball coach

Martin resigned from his role as the head coach of California on Wednesday.
Courtesy of Cal Athletics Cal Athletics

The Missouri men’s basketball team has found its next head coach.

Former California coach Cuonzo Martin has accepted the Missouri men's basketball head coaching job, per a statement from Mizzou Athletics. He becomes the 19th coach in program history.

Martin, 45, resigned from his position at Cal on Wednesday, and has reportedly agreed to a long-term contract worth upward of $20 million with Missouri.

“From the outset of our search, our goal was to find a coach who had demonstrated success, academically and on the court, while also sharing our values and who can help to reignite interest in Mizzou Men’s Basketball among our fan base,” Athletics Director Jim Sterk said in the statement. “I believe we found all of that and more with Cuonzo and I look forward to watching him compete for championships and postseason appearances for many years to come.”

The hire brings the East St. Louis, Illinois, native closer to home. Martin graduated from East St. Louis Lincoln High School, where he won two basketball state championships.

During his three seasons coaching at Cal, Martin led the Golden Bears to one NCAA Tournament appearance and one NIT Tournament appearance. Martin finished 62-39 in his time at Cal.

Martin would bring a 186-121 coaching record into the job with the Tigers, a job which became available when Missouri asked Kim Anderson to step down in early March. Martin has also coached at Tennessee and Missouri State.

In his final season with Tennessee in 2013-14, Martin took the Volunteers to the NCAA tournament’s Sweet Sixteen round. His teams have made two appearances in the NCAA Tournament in his nine years as a college head coach.

Martin received recognition as Missouri Valley Coach of the Year in 2011 when he coached Missouri State.

ESPN’s Paul Finebaum reported that Martin turned down an $18 million contract offer from Illinois, a program that was viewed by many as the most likely destination for Martin.

Martin also spent eight seasons as an assistant coach at Purdue, his alma mater. After Martin received First Team All-Big Ten honors as a senior, the Atlanta Hawks drafted him in the second round of the 1995 NBA Draft. He also played for the Vancouver Grizzlies and the Milwaukee Bucks during his NBA career.

Cuonzo Martin will be officially introduced as head coach at 4 p.m. March 20 at Mizzou Arena.

Edited by Eli Lederman | elederman@themaneater.com

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