Cuonzo Martin leaving Cal to take over at Missouri

Cuonzo Martin is headed back to the Midwest as the new head coach of the Missouri Tigers. The 45-year-old Martin resigned from his position at California Wednesday, the day after his team was eliminated from the NIT.

Martin is from East St. Louis, IL, just across the river from St. Louis and about a 2-hour drive from Mizzou’s campus in Columbia. He played at Purdue in 1990s and ended up coaching there from 2000-08, when he was hired as the head coach at Missouri State.

For the last nine seasons, Martin has spent three years each as head man at Missouri State, Tennessee and Cal. He led his teams to two NCAA Tournaments, four NITs and a CIT Championship in 2010.

As soon as the Missouri job came available, Martin’s name appeared as a prime candidate. Known as a fantastic recruiter and as a coach well-respected by his players, Martin has the tools to come into Missouri and start winning right away.

In a release, Cal athletic director Mike Williams said Martin “told [him] it wasn’t about Cal, rather a strong desire to move closer to home.”

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