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Cuonzo Martin's Shock Move

Leaves Tennessee and finicky fans for California weather.

Cuonzo Martin has had just about enough of Tennessee fans
Cuonzo Martin has had just about enough of Tennessee fans
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Things seemed to be pretty quiet on the coaching carousel. Then Cuonzo Martin livened things up in a big hurry.

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Martin, who has been reasonably successful at Tennessee but certainly not appreciated by Tennessee fans, surprised a whole lot of people by bailing late on the Vols and taking the job at California.

No one saw that coming. Cal was widely reported as having homed in on Eric Musselman before swooping down on Martin.

Among those who didn't see it coming? Martin's former A.D., Dave Hart, who said this in his press conference:

"I did not know Cuonzo was involved in the California job until this morning. We did have a conversation (this morning). He was very emotional. Bottom line is he said in his heart he believed that that was best for he and his family."

That would suggest that Cal acted unethically and contacted Martin directly without asking Hart for permission.

On the other hand, though, what did Tennessee expect? Martin, who remember is a winning coach who advanced to the Sweet Sixteen, was treated very poorly by the fans and in some ways by the school.

It's a little like when Herb Sendek left NC State. The program was said to be boring, fans were very frustrated with the coach, and so, suddenly, he departed for a PAC-10 (then) program.

Only it took awhile for things to improve.

It might take longer at UT. Aside from the difficulty of finding a coach after the way Martin left, Tennessee has been through some bizarre times in football lately and despite the massive funds it gets from the SEC media deals, has managed to develop serious debt problems.

Aside from salary limitations, facility improvements will have to wait.

Tennessee is, and there's no other way to put this, a mess.

There are guys who could make this a great job. Bruce Pearl cranked up the excitement in a big hurry. It can be done.

It's a lot harder to do when people are laughing at you though.