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Cuonzo Martin, New Tennessee Basketball Coach, Was Hawks Draft Pick

Tennessee has hired Missouri State's Cuonzo Martin as their head coach, replacing the fired Bruce Pearl. Martin takes over a program that is facing punishment from the NCAA over recruiting violations that occurred during the Pearl regime.

As a player, Martin was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in the second round of the 1995 draft out of Purdue. His stay in the NBA was short-lived, totaling just seven games for the expansion Vancouver Grizzlies and the Milwaukee Bucks. Martin has served as an assistant coach at Purdue before taking over as head coach of Missouri State in 2008.

Martin was 61-41 in his three seasons at Missouri State and was chosen as this season's Missouri Valley Conference coach of the year. Martin guided Missouri State to a 26-9 record and the MVC regular-season championship. The Bears earned a No. 3 seed in the NIT where they defeated Murray State in the first round before falling to Miami in the second.

Martin has big shoes to fill in Pearl who took Tennessee to the NCAA Tournament in all six of his seasons in Knoxville. Pearl however, succumbed to the high pressure of recruiting and topped off his recruiting mistake by attempting to deceive NCAA investigators.

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Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.