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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

April 15, 2014 at 11:16 AM

California hires Cuonzo Martin

After three years, Cuonzo Martin left Tennessee and replaced Mike Montgomery at California.

After three years, Cuonzo Martin left Tennessee and replaces Mike Montgomery as head coach at California.

It was apparent from the start, California athletic director Sandy Barbour was looking to hit a home run while trying to replace legendary men’s basketball coach Mike Montgomery who retired almost two weeks ago.

The safe pick would have been Golden Bears associate head coach Travis DeCuire, who was endorsed by Montgomery.

But Barbour obviously wanted someone with head-coaching experience and she persuaded Cuonzo Martin to leave Tennessee.

ESPN’s Jeff Goodman wrote the initial story, which has been confirmed by several media outlets.

He compiled a 63-41 record during the previous three years with the Vols. This season Tennessee finished 24-13 and reached the NCAA tournament Sweet 16.

However after the season, it appeared Martin was interested in leaving Knoxville. He was never a fan favorite and there was a petition among Vols faithful that received 36,000 signatures to re-hire Martin’s predecessor Bruce Pearl.

Martin, 42, was considered a finalist for the Marquette job. Many believe he left Tennessee at the right time. The Vols lose three starters and will likely be rebuilding next season. If Martin stayed and stumbled through a losing season, he might have been fired.

At Cal, he inherits a team that finished in a five-way tie for third place in the Pac-12 at 10-8 last season. The Golden Bears were 21-14 overall and advanced to the National Invitation Tournament quarterfinals. Cal loses seniors senior starters Justin Cobbs and Richard Solomon while returing forward David Kravis and guards Tyrone Wallace, Jabari Bird, Jordan Mathews and Rick Kreklow.

Martin didn’t waste any time recruiting for Cal. Minutes after his hiring became public, 7-1 center Kingsley Okoroh backed out of his commitment to Tennessee and committed to the Bears.

It will be interesting to see what happens to DeCuire. He spent the past six seasons at Cal and is considered one of the top assistants on the west coast.

Interesting to note, Martin, the former Purdue star who played in the NBA, is one of five African-American coaches in the Pac-12.

Updated: 1:54 p.m.

Cal made it official. Here’s the release and here’s tweet pic with Martin and Barbour.

Comments | More in Links | Topics: California, Cuonzo Martin

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