College Sports

Mizzou taps Cuonzo Martin as next men’s basketball coach

Cal men’s basketball coach Cuonzo Martin has a 186-121 record with seven postseason appearances, including two NCAA Tournament berths. His Bears lost in the first round of the NIT this season.
Cal men’s basketball coach Cuonzo Martin has a 186-121 record with seven postseason appearances, including two NCAA Tournament berths. His Bears lost in the first round of the NIT this season. AP

Missouri has offered Cuonzo Martin its vacant men’s basketball job, a source with knowledge of the offer told The Kansas City Star.

Martin, 45, is an East St. Louis native who previously coached at Missouri State and Tennessee. He had been the coach at California-Berkley but resigned on Wednesday afternoon to pursue other opportunities, according to the school.

ESPN’s Jeff Goodman was first to report that the Tigers offered Martin their coaching position, which came open March 5 when first-year athletic director Jim Sterk announced Kim Anderson would not return.

Multiple sources told The Star that Martin, whose Golden Bears finished 21-13 this season after a first-round upset Tuesday night in the NIT, has been atop Mizzou’s list of candidates.

Martin is expected to soon make a decision on whether to accept Mizzou’s offer.

During nine seasons as a Division I coach, Martin has a 186-121 record with seven postseason appearances, including two NCAA Tournament berths.

In three seasons at Missouri State, Martin posted a 61-41 record, including a CIT championship in 2010 and a Missouri Valley Conference championship in 2011.

He then moved on Tennessee, replacing the exceptionally popular Bruce Pearl.

Pearl, who is now in third season at Auburn, was fired and received a three-year show-cause penalty after he allegedly lied to investigators during an NCAA investigation into recruiting violations.

Martin, who has a reputation as a strong defensive coach, won at least 19 games in three seasons with the Volunteers, guiding the program to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2014 after consecutive NIT appearances.

He finished 63-41 with a 32-20 record in the Southeastern Conference, but left for Cal after three seasons. Martin is 62-39 with the Bears, including a 28-24 record in the Pac-12.

Cal earned a No. 4 seed for the 2016 NCAA Tournament, but his injury-depleted squad was upset in the first round by Hawaii.

Playing without its two leading scorer, Jabari Bird (concussion) and Ivan Rabb (foot), the Bears were upset by California State-Bakersfield at home last night in the NIT.

Martin signed a contract extension with Cal through 2020-21 in October worth at least $1.84 million per season. His original contract, which wasn’t signed until June 2016, included a $1.1 million buyout if he leaves before April 14.

Tod Palmer: 816-234-4389, @todpalmer

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