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Cuonzo Martin

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Cuonzo Martin Biography

A new era in Mizzou Men’s Basketball began March 20, 2017, as Cuonzo Martin was introduced as the 19th head coach to lead the storied Tigers program. Martin, who enters his fourth season at Mizzou after spending three seasons as head coach at the University of California, has averaged 19.7 wins in 12 seasons as a head coach with eight postseason appearances over the last 11 years to his credit.

Martin, who was born in St. Louis and moved to East St. Louis, Ill., as a young child, owns a 12-year head coaching record of 236-167 (.586), which includes a three-year mark of 62-39 (.614) at California. In his first campaign at Mizzou, Martin took over a program that had won just 27 games in the previous three seasons. The Tigers went from eight wins in 2016-17 to 20 victories in Martin's first season at the helm. It marked Martin's seventh 20-win campaign in a 10-season stretch, and he became the second first-year head coach in Mizzou history to lead the Tigers to 20 wins.

In 2017-18, Martin steered Mizzou to its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2012-13, becoming the 59th head coach in NCAA history to lead three different programs to the Big Dance (Tennessee, Cal and Missouri). He capped his first year at Missouri with his eighth NBA Draft selection in the last six years as Michael Porter Jr. was selected 14th overall by the Denver Nuggets.

Following the 2017-18 campaign, Martin also saw Kassius Robertson land First Team All-SEC honors and Jontay Porter earn SEC Co-Sixth Man of the Year recognition. Additionally, senior Jordan Barnett earned his degree and an NBA Training Camp invitation.

Despite an injury-riddled campaign, Martin maneuvered a young squad to 15 wins in his second season at Mizzou. The Tigers saw 64 percent of their scoring come from underclassmen returning in 2018-19. The surge of youth production included Javon Pickett, Xavier Pinson and Torrence Watson, who became Mizzou's first freshmen trio to each score 200+ points in the same season since 2000-01.

In 2019-20, Mizzou's squad featured one lone senior in Reed Nikko and battled injuries to starters Mark Smith and Jeremiah Tilmon to finish with seven victories in SEC play and 15 overall, winning five of its final nine league games to close the season. The campaign was ended abruptly prior to the postseason due to COVID-19, but the Tigers saw several individuals make leaps under Martin's guidance, most notably rising junior Xavier Pinson and rising redshirt senior Dru Smith. Pinson averaged 18.9 points per game during a torrid nine-game streach in February and March, while Smith became the first SEC player with at least 393 points, 131 rebounds, 121 assists and 64 steals in a season since John Wall and Ben Simmons.

The Tigers return the oldest, most experienced team in the SEC in 2020-21 with 88 percent of scoring back. The current roster Martin has molded since arriving at Mizzou features 11 players with three years under their belt in Columbia, the most in in the league.

Mizzou saw five seniors graduate and earned their degrees in 2019 and Nikko earned his degree in 2020, giving Martin 53 graduates and counting in 12 seasons as a head coach.

Martin has also infused his devotion to community service within the Tigers' program. His squad was awarded the Mizzou Athletics Team Community Service Award for exemplary dedication to giving back to the community in back-to-back years in 2019 and 2020.

Before arriving at Mizzou, in his final season at Cal, Martin led the Golden Bears to a 21-13 mark. The 2016-17 Golden Bears cracked the Associated Press Top 25 in the season’s second poll and received votes in nearly every USA Today coaches poll registered during the year. Four Golden Bears earned All-Pac-12 recognition, as Ivan Rabb was a first-team honoree while Jabari Bird earned honorable mention honors. Kingsley Okoroh was an honorable mention All-Defensive team selection and Charlie Moore was an All-Freshman team honorable mention pick.

Martin’s Golden Bears went 23-11 in 2015-16 and tied for third in the Pac-12 en route to the program’s highest NCAA Tournament seed in school history (No. 4). A consensus top 10 recruiting class, which included top-five overall prospects Rabb and Jaylen Brown, helped the Bears fashion the best single-season record in school history at Haas Pavillion (18-0) and end the year with a 19-game homecourt win streak. All-told, the Golden Bears won a school-record 27-straight home games which spanned the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.

Cal also led the Pac-12 in both scoring defense (67.3 ppg) and field-goal percentage defense (.396).

Brown was named a 2015-16 USBWA Freshman All-American as well as the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year before being selected as the No. 3 pick by the Boston Celtics in the 2016 NBA Draft. Tyron Wallace joined Brown as Martin’s second Bear drafted, selected in the second round by the Utah Jazz.

Led by Bob Cousy Award finalist Wallace, who in his first season as Cal’s point guard, was the only Pac-12 player to finish among the top five in scoring rebounding and assists, Martin’s debut season along the Golden Bears’ sideline saw them reach the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals en route to an 18-15 final record.

While Martin’s teams enjoyed on-court success at Cal, community service was also an important staple of the Golden Bear program as he encouraged his student-athletes to pursue volunteer opportunities in the Bay Area as part of his “Building Men” philosophy. The 2016-17 Golden Bears worked with Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center to help its patients celebrate 150 years of service, visited the South Berkeley Senior Center to serve visitors a pancake breakfast on a weekday morning, and spread holiday cheer at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Christmas party.

Before moving to the West Coast, Martin spent three highly-successful seasons at Tennessee, where he guided the Volunteers to a 63-41 (.606) record and into the postseason each year (one NCAA, two NIT). His teams also finished among the top-five in the SEC standings every season, including a second-place tie in his first campaign after the Volunteers were ticketed for an 11th-place finish in the preseason poll.

After back-to-back NIT appearances in his first two years as the Volunteers head coach, Martin led Tennessee to a 24-13 record, the Sweet 16 and a No. 23 national ranking in the season-ending 2013-14 USA Today coaches poll In the process, Tennessee matched the fourth-best win total in school history and recorded its most postseason victories since the 2009-10 campaign. After earning a berth in the NCAA’s First Four, the Martin-led Volunteers captured victories over Iowa, Massachusetts and Mercer to equal the most wins in one NCAA Tournament in program history.

Under Martin’s tutelage, forward Jarnell Stokes was a two-time first-team All-SEC selection and was one of just three individuals in the six power conferences in 2013-14 to average a double-double. Stokes led the SEC and ranked seventh nationally in rebounding at 10.6 rpg, while also averaging 15.1 ppg. Predicated on tenacity and defense, Martin’s 2013-14 Tennessee squad limited opponents to just 61.7 ppg, the lowest mark in the SEC and second-lowest total at UT since 1969, as the Vols ranked 18th nationally in scoring defense.

Martin is no stranger to the Show-Me State, having launched his head coaching career at Missouri State. After an 11-20 debut season at the Springfield school, Martin led the Bears to a 24-12 record and the 2009-10 CollegeInsider.com Championship in year two.

His third season saw Missouri State record a 26-9 record en route to the program’s first-ever regular-season Missouri Valley Conference championship and an NIT bid. Martin was named the Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year and was the 2011 recipient of the Ben Jobe National Coach of the Year Award, presented annually to the nation’s top minority head coach in Division I men’s basketball.

The 45-year-old Martin has served the game of basketball for more than two decades, beginning with a standout four-year playing career at Purdue. He has played and coached alongside some of the game’s most highly-regarded mentors, including Hall of Fame Coach Gene Keady. Martin is a member of a distinguished group of successful college basketball coaches to serve under Keady, along with Matt Painter (Purdue), Bruce Weber (Illinois and Kansas State), Steve Lavin (UCLA and St. John’s) and Kevin Stallings (Vanderbilt and Pitt).

Martin also has experience as a coach with USA Basketball, serving on the USA Junior National Team staff at the 2011 FISU World University games in Shenzhen, China.

As a student-athlete, Martin was a 1995 first-team All-Big Ten selection at Purdue when he averaged 18.4 ppg and sank 91 three-pointers. He graduated as one of the program’s all-time leaders in three-pointers (179) and among the Boilermakers’ career scoring leaders (1,666). Playing under Keady and alongside All-American Glenn Robinson, Martin led Purdue to a pair of Big Ten titles and to a 90-37 four-year record. The Boilermakers went to the postseason each season with Martin, reaching the Elite Eight of the 1994 NCAA Tournament.

Following his collegiate playing career, Martin was selected by the Atlanta Hawks with the 57th overall pick of the 1995 NBA Draft. He played professionally for four years with the NBA’s Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks and Vancouver Grizzlies. In 1997, Martin was the leading scorer for Felize Scandone in Italy.

Martin returned to his alma mater where he earned his bachelor’s degree in restaurant, hotel, institutional and tourism management from Purdue in 2000, and served one season as an assistant on the staff at West Lafayette High School. After earning his degree, Martin joined Keady’s Purdue staff for the 2000-01 season as an assistant coach, his college coach, and remained with the Boilermaker program when Painter took over as head coach upon Keady’s retirement. He served as the Boilermaker’s associate coach during the 2007-08 season before taking the Missouri State post the following season. In his eight-year tenure at Purdue, mentored several all-conference standouts, including All-American and current Minnesota Timberwolves forward Robbie Hummel.

He and his wife, Roberta, have two sons, Joshua and Chase, and a daughter, Addison.

All American Speakers Bureau is a full-service talent booking agency providing information on booking Cuonzo Martin for speaking engagements, personal appearances and corporate events. Contact an All American Speakers Bureau booking agent for more information on Cuonzo Martin speaking fees, availability, speech topics and cost to hire for your next live or virtual event.

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