Cuonzo Martin is a good dude, by all accounts. He’s not a great basketball coach, however.
That much was on display the last few seasons at Missouri, as Martin put up a losing record in three of his last four years in Columbia.
Following a 12-21 season this year, Martin was fired after his team’s exit in the SEC Tournament. He finishes with a 78-77 record at Missouri, following at 62-39 record at California.
Martin darted for the Cal job back in 2014 following a sweet 16 run with Tennessee in the NCAA Tournament. The writing was on the wall there for Martin, who decided to leave for a cushy job out west.
The move was praised by Tennessee fans who had grown frustrated with Martin’s style, coming off of the Bruce Pearl era, which was the polar opposite.
It was also praised by some in the media who clearly had friendships with Martin. In fact, some, mainly Pat Forde, would take every opportunity to troll the Tennessee fanbase as Rick Barnes rebuilt the program.
Forde got the freezing cold takes treatment tonight, deservedly so.
Martin did some good things at Tennessee, he just wasn’t cut out for the Tennessee job. Not everyone is, and that’s fine. That became apparent during the final year of his tenure at Tennessee, and fans knew it, which likely led to his departure.
Sometimes the fit just isn’t right. Those who don’t pay attention (Forde) to the day-to-day can’t see it. But we all saw it. Cuonzo didn’t fit in Knoxville.
He ended up being mediocre at Cal, and downright bad at Missouri. In the end, Tennessee fans were right. But Forde would never tell you that.
Everything ended up working out for Tennessee, which was able to stabilize after Donnie Tyndall’s one-and-done year. The Volunteers were able to snatch up a far from done Rick Barnes, and they’ve never looked back since.
Tennessee will secure another No. 3 seed (or better) in the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, looking to make some more noise in the SEC Tournament on Saturday first.