Cuonzo Martin

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Cuonzo Martin
Cuonzo Martin in 2009.jpg
Martin in 2009 as Missouri State head coach.
California Golden Bears
Position Head coach
League Pac-12 Conference
Personal information
Born (1971-09-23) September 23, 1971 (age 44)
East St. Louis, Illinois
Listed height 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Listed weight 215 lb (98 kg)
Career information
High school Lincoln (East St. Louis, Illinois)
College Purdue (1991–1995)
NBA draft 1995 / Round: 2 / Pick: 57th overall
Selected by the Atlanta Hawks
Playing career 1995–1998
Position Shooting guard / Small forward
Number 40, 21
Coaching career 1999–present
Career history
As player:
1995–1996 Vancouver Grizzlies
1996–1997 Grand Rapids Mackers (CBA)
1997 Milwaukee Bucks
1997–1998 Ciro Avellino (Italy)
As coach:
1999–2000 West Lafayette HS (asst.)
2000–2007 Purdue (asst.)
2007–2008 Purdue (assoc. HC)
2008–2011 Missouri State
2011–2014 Tennessee
2014–present California
Career highlights and awards

As coach:

As player:

Cuonzo LaMar Martin (born September 23, 1971) is a retired American professional basketball player and is the current head coach of the California Golden Bears men's basketball team.

High school[edit]

Playing alongside LaPhonso Ellis as a sophomore and junior, Martin played on two state championship teams for Lincoln High in his native East St. Louis, Illinois. He played on state championship teams his sophomore and junior years of high school. Through his 3 years in the IHSA tournament, Martin scored 198 points and grabbed 111 rebounds in 12 games.

In 2007, Martin and Ellis were voted one of the "100 Legends of the IHSA Boys Basketball Tournament," recognizing their superior performance in their appearances in the tournament.[1]

College career[edit]

Cuonzo Martin attended Purdue University, where he played for Gene Keady and alongside Wooden Award winner, Glenn Robinson. The 6'6", 215 lb guard/forward helped lead the Purdue Boilermakers men's basketball team to back-to-back Big Ten Conference Titles in 1994 and 1995 and an Elite Eight appearance. Martin held future NBA players Shawn Respert of Michigan State and Wisconsin's Michael Finley to season lows in scoring as a Senior. On March 24, 1994, Martin set a school record with the most three pointers made in a game, making 8 of 13 threes against Kansas in a Sweet Sixteen, which has since been tied up by Robbie Hummel (January 12, 2010) and Ryne Smith (November 14, 2011). Known as the team's defensive stopper, he was also deadly beyond the arc. He left Purdue with the fourth most three-point shots made with 179, behind Jaraan Cornell's 242 record, while holding the record for the highest career three-point shooting with .451 accuracy. Martin was awarded First Team All-Big Ten honors his Senior season, averaging 18.4 points a game. He currently holds another school record for most consecutive games played with 137 straight throughout his career at Purdue.

Professional career[edit]

Martin was selected by the Atlanta Hawks as the 57th pick in the 2nd round of the 1995 NBA Draft. He played in only seven career NBA games for the 1995–96 expansion team Vancouver Grizzlies and the Milwaukee Bucks where he re-joined his college teammate and the number one pick in the 1994 NBA Draft Glenn Robinson during the 1996–97 season. He also played professionally in the CBA for the Grand Rapids Mackers and he played for Ciro Avellino of Italian Lega Basket Serie A for the 1997–98 season. Martin was leading the Italian team in scoring. In November 1997, Martin asked to be sent home, due to various symptoms. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Martin began aggressive treatments and chemotherapy and the cancer went into remission. Martin returned to Purdue to finish his degree. After he graduated, Gene Keady hired Martin as an assistant coach in 2000. The Cuonzo Martin Challenge Award to help raise funds for cancer research was established in his honor and he has since been cancer-free.

Coaching career[edit]


After one year as an assistant coach at West Lafayette High School, Martin returned to Purdue in 2000 to be an assistant coach under his former coach Gene Keady and former teammate, Matt Painter. He helped the Boilers to an Elite Eight appearance and three NCAA Second Round appearances, along with an overall 153–129 record during his eight seasons on the Purdue bench. He was named associate head coach for the 2007–08 season.[2]

Missouri State[edit]

After eight seasons at Purdue, Martin accepted the head coaching position at Missouri State University of the Missouri Valley Conference on March 25, 2008. He replaced Barry Hinson. After falling to Auburn in the season opener, Martin had his first head coaching win over Central Michigan on the road. Martin's Bears won their first game at their new JQH Arena home, beating Arkansas from the SEC. They wrapped up the pre-conference season with a 7–4 record. Martin's Bears headed into conference play with only 3 players appearing in every game, due to a number of injuries. They lost their first conference game in overtime against an undefeated Illinois State. His Bears finished the season with an 11–20 record.

Following his first season as head coach, Martin's top 25 RPI-ranked Bears started the 2009–10 season with a 10–0 start. Missouri State averaged a 10+ margin in points per game coming into Missouri Valley Conference play. Cuonzo's squad finished seventh in conference play with a 20–12 record and accepted a bid to the CIT Tournament, which they ended up winning to finish the season with a record of 24–12.

In Coach Martin's third year at Missouri State, the team won their first regular season Missouri Valley Men's Basketball title and entered the Arch Madness conference tournament as the #1 seed. After reaching the finals, they lost to the Indiana State Sycamores. Although having an RPI of 44, the team was not selected as an at-large team to the 2011 NCAA Men's Basketball tournament. They accepted a bid to the National Invitation Tournament, beating Murray State University at home and then losing to Miami (FL) away in the 2nd round. The team ended the season with a 26–9 record.


On March 27, 2011, after 3 seasons at Missouri State, Martin was hired as the head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers.[3][4]

In three seasons as head coach, Martin led the Volunteers to two NITs and to the 2014 NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen.

Martin was never really accepted by Tennessee's fan base, partly due to his distant personality. After a slow start to the 2013-14 season, several fans began openly campaigning to have Martin replaced with his predecessor, Bruce Pearl, who was about to finish serving a show-cause penalty. An online petition urging athletic director Dave Hart to rehire Pearl drew 40,000 signatures.[5]


On April 15, 2014, Martin was hired as the head coach of the University of California, Berkeley men's basketball team.[6]

Coaching notes[edit]

Cuonzo Martin became the fifth Division I head coach to come out of the Gene Keady coaching tree, following Bruce Weber, Steve Lavin, Kevin Stallings, and Matt Painter.

Head coaching record[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Missouri State Bears (Missouri Valley Conference) (2008–2011)
2008–09 Missouri State 11–20 3–15 10th
2009–10 Missouri State 24–12 8–10 7th CIT Champions
2010–11 Missouri State 26–9 15–3 1st NIT Second Round
Missouri State: 61–41 (.598) 26–28 (.481)
Tennessee Volunteers (Southeastern Conference) (2011–2014)
2011–12 Tennessee 19–15 10–6 T–2nd NIT Second Round
2012–13 Tennessee 20–13 11–7 T–5th NIT First Round
2013–14 Tennessee 24–13 11–7 4th NCAA Sweet Sixteen
Tennessee: 63–41 (.606) 32–20 (.615)
California Golden Bears (Pac-12 Conference) (2014–present)
2014–15 California 18–15 7–11 T–8th
2015–16 California 13–6 3–3
California: 31–21 (.596) 10–14 (.417)
Total: 155–103 (.601)

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion


External links[edit]