Missouri Hires Martin to Take Over Basketball Program

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Former Cal coach Cuonzo Martin, a native of East St. Louis, IL will be the next basketball leader at Mizzou the school announced on Wednesday.

Cal Athletics Director Mike Williams said in a statement that the school would open a nationwide search for the team's next permanent head coach.

Previously, Martin was also a longtime assistant coach at Purdue. "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".

The Golden Bears' season ended with a 73-66 loss in the National Invitational Tournament to Cal State Bakersfield. He replaced Kim Anderson, who was sacked after three seasons.

Multiple media reports say Missouri and Martin have finalized a seven-year deal worth $21 million.

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Martin coached Missouri State for three seasons beginning in 2008-09 before he left to become coach at UT.

Missouri recently fired head coach Kim Anderson after three-straight last place finishes in the SEC.

Three years ago, Tennessee Volunteers fans chased Cuonzo Martin out of the Southeastern Conference despite a Sweet 16 appearance, mainly for not being his popular predecessor, Bruce Pearl. Martin never had issues landing talent during previous stops at Tennessee and California, and now his focus should be on those two talent-rich areas. After two seasons with winning conference records, Martin led the Volunteers all the way to the sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament in 2014, before falling 73-71 to #2 MI. IL also offered Martin their head coaching position, according to a source. He also proved to be a good recruiter, putting together a very strong Class of 2015, which featured five-star prospects Jaylen Brown (the No. 3 overall pick in last year's NBA Draft) and Ivan Rabb, who could be a first-round selection this year.

ESPN's Paul Finebaum reported that Martin turned down an $18 million contract offer from IL, a program that was viewed by many as the most likely destination for Martin.

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