SHOCKED. SHOCKED I TELL YOU.
Tennessee's Cuonzo Martin has agreed to be head coach at California, sources told ESPN. Story coming.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) April 15, 2014
We've confirmed Cuonzo Martin has taken Cal job. After apparent agreement reached, I'm told terms and buyout issues with agent blocked deal— Jimmy Hyams (@JimmyHyams) April 15, 2014
This is so confusing it defies belief. We didn't hear a peep about this. The first news I heard of Cuonzo Martin being a legitimate candidate for the job was the Goodman Tweet above.
Martin was the head coach at Tennessee for the past three seasons, guiding the Volunteers to two NCAA Tournament bids (and being the first team out the year they did not make it). They even made the Sweet 16 this past season despite having to play an extra game in the First Four. He was 63-41 at Tennessee and finished in the top half of the SEC each season (including a second place finish in his first year there).
Yet after just a few struggles earlier in the season, the Vols were ready to jettison Martin. There was an online petition (with tens of thousands of signatures!) circulated advocating for Martin's firing. Apparently boosters withdrew the private jet he would use for basketball recruiting to try and coax him out the door.
Also, Martin and Tennessee will have hopefully negotiated the proper settlement for the departure. Currently Cal and Martin would be on the hook for a lot if his contract stays intact.
Martin was in line to get an extension and a raise after his team's run through the tournament, a run that earned him a $75,000 bonus. With his departure, Martin and Cal according to Martin's contract will owe the University $1.3 million. It's unclear at this point if Martin owes the full amount or if Tennessee has negotiated a settlement on that figure.
Welcome to #BearTerritory! Cuonzo Martin to be announced this afternoon as HeadMen's Basketball Coach @Cal! #GoBears pic.twitter.com/Zz0UwgG50I— Sandy Barbour (@gobearsAD) April 15, 2014