Cuonzo Martin Meets with Marquette

Tennessee men’s basketball coach Cuonzo Martin met with Marquette officials on Sunday to discuss the school’s coaching vacancy, according to an ESPN report published early Monday morning.

The report, citing anonymous sources, says the Golden Eagles are showing “significant interest” in hiring UT’s third-year coach as its replacement for Buzz Williams, who last week left Marquette for Virginia Tech after six seasons. The report did not say where the meeting was held.

Martin has declined interview requests from the News Sentinel since UT’s season ended in a 73-71 loss to Michigan in the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16 on Friday.

UT senior associate athletic director Jon Gilbert told the News Sentinel on Sunday evening that there was “no update” on Martin’s status. Asked specifically about Marquette’s reported interest in Martin, Gilbert said UT would not comment on another school’s search.

Martin is still expected to meet with UT athletic director Dave Hart to review the Vols’ 24-13 season and discuss his contract situation. Gilbert told the News Sentinel that meeting will take place “in due time.”

Martin and members of his UT staff spent part of Saturday reaching out to UT’s incoming freshmen. A player in Martin’s four-man 2014 class who requested anonymity told the News Sentinel that Martin advised him to ignore a previous ESPN report that named Martin as one of Marquette’s targets.

“He (Martin) called and said, ‘It’s rumors.’ I’m going to play for Cuonzo Martin and Tennessee,” the signee said.

Martin just finished his third season of a five-year contract worth $1.35 million. The buyout stipulated in the contract drops from $2.6 million to $1.3 million on Tuesday.

Martin’s three UT teams have compiled a win-loss record of 63-41. This season’s Sweet 16 run was his first trip to the NCAA tournament. It followed back-to-back appearances in the NIT. Martin’s current winning percentage is third-best in the SEC among the conference’s current coaches. His $1.35 million annual salary is believed to be the 11th-highest in the 14-team league.

Other coaches who have been linked to the Marquette opening include former UCLA coach Ben Howland, Duke assistant coach Steve Wojciechowski and Green Bay coach Brian Wardle. Marquette, a member of the Big East, recently hired a new president, Michael Lovell. The school’s interim athletic director, Bill Cords, is leading the coaching search.

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