First-year Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk got his man.
Sterk targeted California men’s basketball coach Cuonzo Martin from the outset after announcing March 5 that Kim Anderson would not return for the 2017-18 season, multiple sources told The Star.
Mizzou announced Wednesday that Martin, who resigned from Cal earlier in the day, would be the 19th full-time coach in men’s hoops history.
Never miss a local story.
“We are thrilled that Cuonzo is returning to the Midwest and that his family will now call Columbia home,” Sterk said in a statement from Mizzou Athletics. “From the outset of our search, our goal was to find a coach who had demonstrated success, academically and on the court, while also sharing our values and who can help to reignite interest in Mizzou Men’s Basketball among our fan base. I believe we found all of that and more with Cuonzo and I look forward to watching him compete for championships and postseason appearances for many years to come.”
Martin will be formally introduced during a press conference at 4 p.m. Monday at Mizzou Arena in Columbia. Doors will open to the public at 3:30 p.m.
The Star has learned that Martin’s seven-year deal includes a laddered annual salary that will average approximately $3 million per season, according to a source.
Perhaps not coincidentally, Sterk signed a seven-year contract in August.
Martin, 45, is an East St. Louis native and previously coached at Missouri State and Tennessee.
ESPN college basketball reporter Jeff Goodman was the first to report the Tigers offered Martin — who first name is pronounced “KHAN-zoh” — the position and a deal was in place.
Sources with knowledge of the search said Missouri never met with Indiana coach Tom Crean and never had more than passing interest.
Martin’s Golden Bears finished 21-13 this season after a first-round upset Tuesday night in the NIT.
He finished 62-39, including a 28-24 record in the Pac-12, in three seasons at Cal.
During nine seasons as a Division I coach, Martin has a 186-121 record — an average of nearly 21 wins per season — with seven postseason appearances, including two NCAA Tournament berths.
In three seasons at Missouri State, Martin posted a 61-41 record, including a CIT championship in 2010 and a Missouri Valley Conference championship in 2011.
He was chosen Missouri Valley coach of the year in 2011 along with Ben Jobe National Coach of the Year as the country’s top minority Division I coach.
Martin then moved on Tennessee, replacing the exceedingly popular Bruce Pearl after he was fired amid an NCAA investigation.
Pearl, who is in his third season at Auburn, received a three-year show-cause penalty after he allegedly lied to investigators about recruiting violations.
Martin, who has a reputation as a terrific defensive mind, won at least 19 games in all three seasons with the Volunteers, guiding the program to the Sweet Sixteen in 2014 after consecutive NIT appearances.
He finished 63-41 with a 32-20 record in the SEC, but was never embraced by Tennessee’s fans, who still pined for Pearl.
Martin left for Cal after three seasons.
The Bears earned a No. 4 seed for the 2016 NCAA Tournament, but an injury-depleted squad was upset in the first round by Hawaii.
Cal earned a No. 1 seed in the NIT, but was upset by California State-Bakersfield at home Tuesday in the opening round with its two leading scorers, Jabari Bird (concussion) and Ivan Rabb (foot), sidelined.
Martin signed a contract extension with Cal through 2020-21 in October worth at least $1.84 million per season.
His original contract, which wasn’t signed until June 2016, included a $1.1 million buyout if he left before April 14.
Martin has a sterling reputation as a recruiter.
Despite tough admissions standards at Cal, he signed two five-star prospects and two four-star prospects in three seasons, including Jaylen Brown and Rabb in 2015.
He also landed Robert Hubbs, a five-star talent, at Tennessee along with Jarnell Stokes and Armani Moore.
As a player, Martin and LaPhonso Ellis helped lead Lincoln High to a pair of Illinois AA state championships in 1988 and 1989.
After one year at New Hampton Prep in New Hampshire, Martin enjoyed a standout career under Hall of Fame coach Gene Keady at Purdue, where he averaged 18.4 points and was a first-team All-Big Ten selection in 1995.
Martin was a second-round pick by the Atlanta Hawks in 1995 and appeared in seven games with Vancouver and Milwaukee during the next two seasons.
While playing professionally in Italy, he was diagnosed in November 1997 with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Martin, who also served on the USA Junior National Team for the 2011 World University Games, later returned to Indiana as an assistant coach at the high school level, then for eight seasons under Keady.
He and his wife, Roberta, have two sons, Joshua and Chase, and a daughter, Addison.