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Cuonzo Martin Biography

Congrats, good job by Cuonzo Martin in the first year of his reign at UT as the Vols went to the NCAA tournament.

Cuonzo Martin was named the new Tennessee Volunteers basketball coach on March 27. This will be the second head coaching job of Martin’s career, he was coming off his best season at Missouri State.

Martin was born on September 23, 1971 in East St. Louis, Illinois. He played high school ball at Lincoln High school were he was a member of 2 Illinois State Championship teams. In 2007 he was named one of the "100 Legends of the IHSA Boys Basketball Tournament" for his play during those tournament games.

After his high school playing days were over, Martin enrolled at Purdue University to play basketball for Gene Keady. While there he was a member of 2 Big Ten Champion teams and made one Elite Eight appearance in 1994. His senior year he was named First Team All-Big Ten after averaging 18.4 points a game. He would end up scoring 1,666 points in his career.

After his senior year, the Atlanta Hawks selected in him with the 57th overall pick in the 1995 NBA draft. He would play for the Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks, and Vancouver Grizzlies over four years.

His career ended while he was playing Europe, he discovered he had Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He returned to home for treatment of a malignant tumor, and is full remission at this time.

Cuonzo Martin Biography
Head Coach Cuonzo Martin reacts to a call against his team.

In 2000 he became an assistant coach at Purdue. His first year there, the Boilermakers made another Elite Eight run. He was named the Associate Head Coach for the 2007-2008 season under former teammate Matt Painter.

In 2008 he took his first head coaching job at Missouri State. His first year the Bears stated 7-4, including a win over SEC member Arkansas. Injuries caused the Bears to finish 3-15 in the Missouri Valley Conference and 11-20 overall.

The 2009-2010 season saw improvement for Martin’s squad. He guided them to a 24-12 overall record. They started 10-0, but only went 8-10 in the MVC. They were invited to and won the 2010 Collegeinsider.com Tournament (CIT).

The 2010-2011 was the breakout year for Martin. Missouri State went 26-9 and that included losing to Tennessee in the second round of the Preseason NIT Tournament. Missouri State had the best record in the MVC at 15-3. They were upset in the MVC tournament finals by Indiana State and did not get a NCAA bid. They did make the NIT and lost in the second round to Miami (FL). He was named the 2011 MVC Coach of the Year for Missouri State's success.

Cuonzo Martin Biography
March 5, 2011 Missouri State Bears head coach Cuonzo Martin gestures to players in the second half.

Martin’s name came up when coaching jobs started opening up across the country. His name was rumored for Missouri after Mike Anderson took over at Arkansas. Then he was mentioned if Matt Painter took over at Missouri, leaving Purdue.

On March 27, 2011 he was named the Volunteers head coach. Martin takes over knowing that NCAA sanctions from the Bruce Pearl era. He does not worry about that, just what he can do.

"I came here to coach a basketball team and to be successful doing that," Martin said during his first press conference as Volunteers coach.

Martin brings his family to Knoxville. He is married to his wife Roberta and they have three children.

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