If Cal was trying to hit a home run with the hiring of a new men's basketball coach, the Golden Bears appeared to come close enough, announcing Tuesday that Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin would replace Mike Montgomery.Martin, 42, had been the Volunteers' coach for the past three years, and led the Vols to a 24-13 record this past season, including a surprise appearance in the Sweet 16, where they were eliminated by Michigan. He was 63-41 overall in his three seasons at Tennessee.
Martin's decision to take the Cal job apparently caught Tennessee off-guard, according to a story on SB Nation. He flirted with Marquette right after the season, but when the Warriors decided to go in a different direction, Martin was expected to stay at Tennessee. But the SB Nation story said he had come under heavy criticism earlier in the 2013-14 season, including a petition to replace him.
The Volunteers staged a strong run at the end of the season, winning five of their final six conference games to finish 11-7 overall, good for fourth place. They were eliminated in the second round of the SEC tournament by Florida, which was ranked No. 1 in the country at the time.
Before going to Tennessee, Martin spent three seasons as the head coach at Missouri State, where he was 61-41 overall but just 26-28 in the Missouri Valley Conference.
A native of East St. Louis, Ill., he played college ball for Gene Keady at Purdue. Martin played for two seasons in the NBA after being a second-round pick by the Atlanta Hawks in the 1995 draft. He appeared in a total of seven games with the Vancouver (now Memphis) Grizzlies and Milwaukee Bucks.
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