Cuonzo Martin absent as Missouri basketball coach | Mizzou Sports News

TAMPA, Fla. — Cuonzo Martin will not return next season as head coach of Missouri’s men’s basketball program, a source told The Post-Dispatch on Friday, the day after the Tigers’ season ended in Tampa. in Florida, with a second round. loss in the Southeastern Conference tournament. Mizzou officially announced the decision on Friday evening.

Martin, 50, comes away with a five-year record of 78-77, 35-53 in Southeastern Conference regular season games and 3-4 in the SEC Tournament. He was 0-2 in NCAA Tournament games, losing in the first round in 2018 and 2021. After a 20-13 first season, Martin’s second and third teams finished just under .500 (15-17, 15 -16) before last year. turnaround season, when the Tigers started 13-3 and peaked at No. 10 in national polls. But they crumbled over time, losing seven of their last 10 games, resulting in a drastic roster rebuild that never took shape as expected. The Tigers finished 12-21 that season, only the sixth 20-game losing season in team history.

Search consultant Eddie Fogler, a former South Carolina and Vanderbilt head coach, will assist Mizzou in the national search for Martin’s replacement. MU athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois previously used former coaching firm Fogler Consulting when she hired TJ Otzelberger as a basketball coach at UNLV.

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“Coach Martin represented the University with an extremely high level of class and dignity,” MU Director of Sport Desiree Reed-Francois said in a statement. “He is a man of great personality whom I have the greatest respect for, and we are grateful for his contributions to our program on and off the pitch. He is not only a coach, but also a teacher, and he has impacted the lives of every student-athlete who has participated in the program over the past five years, and we wish him, Roberta, and their families all the best for the future.

“I think Mizzou is one of the best men’s basketball coaches in the country,” she added. “Our university is the flagship institution of our great state and a member of the Southeastern Conference, the premier college athletics league. We are located in a recruiting hotbed and there is incredible alignment between our department and our president and our board of directors. We have – and will continue to invest in our men’s basketball program and I look forward to introducing the new leader of our program to our community in the near future. We will work quickly and quickly to find the candidate who is best suited to continue building our championship culture.”

Martin, a native of East St. Louis, has two years left on his original seven-year contract. By participating in the NCAA Tournament twice in his first four seasons, Martin triggered two clauses in his contract that prohibit Mizzou from firing him without cause before April 30, 2022 and then owes him $6 million. The total buyout would have dropped to $3 million if MU had fired Martin after April 30, 2023.

MU plans to fully honor the terms of Martin’s contract, which states that damages may be paid in equal monthly installments until April 30, 2024 or in a lump sum “as may be negotiated and agreed to by the parties”. .

Potential candidates Mizzou could explore include Grant McCasland of North Texas, Darian DeVries of Drake, Matt McMahon of Murray State, Dennis Gates of Cleveland State, Baylor assistant Jerome Tang and former Mizzou player Kim English, during of his first year as head coach of George Mason.

It was Martin’s third losing season in five years at United, but the Tigers were much closer to even in the other two. Crowds at Mizzou Arena became sparser than usual as United ranked 12th among SEC teams this season, averaging 6,600 fans per home game. In November, Martin signed his highest-rated recruit since his first weeks on the job five years ago, but that wasn’t enough to inspire hopes that he could revive the program in the near future.

Instead, the Tigers will launch a fifth head coaching search in the past 16 years, a spin-off that underscores the program’s failures to maintain any success over the past two decades.

This time, however, his search for coaches from Reed-Francois, though the freshman athletic director surely has strong input from powerful university system president Mun Choi, influential boosters, and past and current board members. conservatives in the UM system, many of them who can’t help but do their part when it comes to matters important to the athletics department.

Another challenge for MU: This will be Mizzou’s first big signing in athletics since the NCAA cleared immediate transfer eligibility, along with the name, image and likeness move. That means current players and signed rookies could be the first to poach. United’s top two returning players, Kobe Brown and Trevon Brazile, have already been contacted by representatives from other schools, a source confirmed on Friday, as well as four-star rookie Aidan Shaw, who signed with United the last fall.

Martin’s fifth season ended early with a home loss to Kansas City – an ominous callback to former coach Kim Anderson’s first home game, another demoralizing loss to the Roos – and then barely competitive efforts on the road against Liberty and Florida State. Before the schedule shifted to 2022, the Tigers’ lack of depth, talent and continuity were all exposed in blistering losses to Kansas, Illinois and Kentucky.