Missouri State coach takes Tennessee job

Tennessee hired Missouri State’s Cuonzo Martin on Sunday to take over a Volunteers program facing punishment by the NCAA for recruiting violations.

Martin, 39, replaces the popular Bruce Pearl, who was fired March 21, a month after being charged with unethical conduct for lying to NCAA investigators.

Martin was hired in 2008 by Missouri State after eight years as an assistant at Purdue and went 61-41 in three seasons. He was chosen this season’s Missouri Valley Conference coach of the year after the Bears finished 26-9 and won the program’s first MVC regularseason championship.

“Cuonzo is among the most promising young coaches in the game, and we are excited about the coaching ability, toughness and energy that he brings to our program,” Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton said. “He has a proven track record of success as a head coach at Missouri State and an assistant at Purdue as well as an outstanding career as a college basketball player.”

As a player, Martin scored 1,666 points in 127 career games with Purdue and set the Boilermakers’ single-game record for 3-pointers with eight in an NCAA regional semifinal victory over Kansas in 1994.

He was selected 57th overall in the 1995 NBA draft by the Atlanta Hawks and played in the NBA for four years, including stints with the Milwaukee Bucks and Vancouver Grizzlies.

A press conference to introduce Martin was scheduled for today.

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