Cuonzo Martin Resigns From Cal; Hired at Missouri

Cuonzo Martin resigned from the University of California on Wednesday per Cal Director of Athletics Mike Williams. Hours later, Missouri University announced Martin as their new head coach for the 2017-18 season and beyond. ESPN reports Martin received a seven-year, $21 million dollar contract.

“Cuonzo Martin informed me this morning that he is resigning to accept a position at another school. We put forth our best effort to retain him, but he told me it wasn’t about Cal, rather a strong desire to move closer to home,” said Williams. “We appreciate all that Cuonzo has done with our men’s basketball program over the past three seasons, creating excitement inside Haas Pavilion, guiding our team to a pair of postseason appearances and improving the academic performance of our student-athletes.”

Martin, who was the head coach at Missouri State for three years prior to moving to Tennessee for three years, was 62-39 during his three-year tenure at California. A period that included an NCAA bid in 2016 and a NIT bid in 2017.

Only hours after news surfaced of Martin’s resignation from California, Missouri Athletic Director Jim Sterk officially announced Martin as their 19th men’s basketball head coach.

“We are thrilled that Cuonzo is returning to the Midwest and that his family will now call Columbia home,” Sterk said. “From the outset of our search, our goal was to find a coach who had demonstrated success, academically and on the court, while also sharing our values and who can help to reignite interest in Mizzou Men’s Basketball among our fan base. I believe we found all of that and more with Cuonzo and I look forward to watching him compete for championships and postseason appearances for many years to come.”

With the termination of Lorenzo Romar at Washington, the next step for Martin should be to attempt to secure Michael Porter Sr. as an assistant and secure the treasure trove of talent that will follow. Michael Porter Jr., who never signed his Letter of Intent at Washington, is the son of Porter Sr and one of, if not the top player in the class of 2017.

Ranked number two in the 247Sports 2017 Composite Rankings, Porter Jr. brings a skill set that Missouri hasn’t seen in years. Talent that could help a struggling program turn the corner. Widely expected to be a one-and-done, Porter’s skill set is lengthy and brings tremendous versatility and scoring to a team in need of a go-to guy.

Even with the potential addition of Michael Porter Jr., Cuonzo Martin has his hands full at Missouri. Former Missouri coach Kim Anderson said in his final statement, “If you ask me when I knew I’d get fired, I probably would have said the first day I took the job because there were a lot of challenges we had to meet.”

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