Cal needed a new basketball coach, and 36,000 of Tennessee’s most overzealous fans helped push Cuonzo Martin to the Golden Bears’ doorstep.
Cal introduced Martin as its new coach Tuesday, following a 15-day search to find a successor for Mike Montgomery. Martin, 42, will get a five-year contract from athletic director Sandy Barbour.
At Tennessee, Martin guided the Southeastern Conference school to a spot in the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16 this season only weeks after fans signed an online petition demanding that he be replaced by his predecessor, Bruce Pearl, who was fired in 2011 for lying to NCAA investigators.
Martin took the high road at his introductory news conference, declining to take any shots at UT fans.
“They woke up a hungry bear,” Martin said of his response to the petition, which he claims he wasn’t aware of until an opposing coach alluded to it after a game.
“It wasn’t a big deal. You still have 17,000 people at the games. You can’t please everybody.”
Click here to read the rest of this story.
Columnist Marcus Thompson II says Martin can take Bears to new heights.
Hall of Fame coach Gene Keady, others have praise for Cal’s hire.