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UPDATE: Missouri State Finalizes Deal with Cuonzo Martin on a Lengthy Contract


Missouri State University has now confirmed that Cuonzo Martin will return to Springfield and be the Bears next head coach.

A news release from MSU can be found below:

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — After an extensive national search, Missouri State University has selected Cuonzo (CON-zoe) Martin as its next men’s basketball head coach. The man who orchestrated Missouri State’s only Missouri Valley Conference regular-season championship run during his first tenure in Springfield will be formally re-introduced to Bears fans during a news conference on Monday.
The news conference will start at 1:00 p.m. in the Prime Overtime Club at Great Southern Bank Arena. Doors will open at 12:30 p.m., and the public is invited to attend. Metered parking is available in lots adjacent to the arena.
Martin, who coached at Missouri State from 2008 to 2011, owns a 264-198 (.587) career record in 14 seasons as a Division I head coach at MSU, Tennessee, California and Missouri. His teams have made nine postseason appearances in that span, including four trips to the NCAA Tournament, four appearances in the NIT, and a CIT title with the Bears in 2010. Martin also led the Bears to a 2011 Missouri Valley Conference regular-season championship and boasts 56 college graduates during his head coaching career.
“Zo is an experienced coach who has consistently won at the Division I level,” said Director of Athletics Kyle Moats. “One of the things that stands out about him is that he really wants to be at Missouri State. He is respected both nationally and here in our community, and he brings instant credibility to our program. His track record with our donors, our fans and our students will make this an easy transition. In my opinion, there was not a better coach out there to lead our young men.”
A native of East St. Louis, Ill., Martin was a star player at Purdue from 1991-95 for coach Gene Keady and then played four years professionally. He was on the coaching staff at Purdue for eight years under Keady and Matt Painter before accepting his first head coaching position at Missouri State on March 26, 2008.
In Martin’s first stint in Springfield, he was named Missouri State’s 16th head coach in time for the program’s 100th anniversary year and the inaugural season of Great Southern Bank Arena in 2008-09. In his second season (2009-10), Martin guided MoState to a 24-12 overall ledger, a 19-2 home record, and an impressive run to the Postseason Tournament title.
His third season at MSU in 2010-11 was one of the program’s most memorable, as the Bears finished 26-9 overall on the way to the program’s first-ever MVC regular-season title with a 15-3 league record. The Bears fell to Indiana State in the finals of the MVC Tournament in St. Louis and capped an unforgettable campaign by advancing to the second round of the National Invitation Tournament. Martin was named 2011 MVC Coach of the Year, making him the only MSU sideline boss to receive that honor, as well as claiming the 2011 Ben Jobe Award as the nation’s top minority head coach. Over Martin’s last two seasons in Springfield, the Bears were 36-3 at home and did not lose a non-conference home game during that span.
Martin has made three head coaching stops since leaving Springfield with stints at Tennessee (2011-14), California (2014-17) and Missouri (2017-22).
In three seasons at Tennessee, Martin guided the Volunteers to a 63-41 (.606) overall record with three postseason appearances and three finishes in the top five in the SEC Standings. The Vols finished second in the SEC in Martin’s first season in Knoxville after being picked 11th in the SEC 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 in 2013-14 with an NCAA Sweet 16 trip and a No. 23 national ranking in the season-ending USA Today coaches poll. In the process, Tennessee matched the fourth-best win total in school history. After earning a berth in the NCAA’s First Four, the Martin-led Volunteers captured victories over Iowa, UMass and Mercer to equal the most NCAA Tournament wins in program history.
At Cal, Martin led the Golden Bears to a 21-13 mark and NIT appearance in his final season, guiding the 2016-17 squad into the Associated Press Top 25 in the season’s second poll while receiving votes in nearly every USA Today coaches poll that year. His squad boasted four All-Pac-12 players, including first-team selection Ivan Rabb. His 2015-16 club went 23-11 and tied for third in the Pac-12 en route to a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the highest in program history. The Golden Bears parlayed a consensus top 10 recruiting class into an 18-0 record at Haas Pavilion as part of a school-record 27-game home win streak over Martin’s last two campaigns in Berkeley with Cal leading the Pac-12 in both scoring defense (67.3 ppg) and field-goal percentage defense (.396) in year two. Martin was 62-39 (.614) during his three-year tenure at Cal.
His most-recent coaching stop was at Missouri (2017-22) where Martin took over a program that had won just 27 games in the previous three seasons. The Tigers went from eight wins before his arrival to 20 victories in Martin’s first season at the helm (2017-18). His Columbia debut season marked Martin’s seventh 20-win season in a 10-season stretch and made him the 59th head coach in NCAA Tournament history to lead three different programs to the Big Dance. He later led the Tigers to a second NCAA Tournament run in 2020-21 as Mizzou spent 11 consecutive weeks in the AP Top 25, reaching as high as No. 10 nationally. The Tigers finished the season with three wins over Top 10 teams and seven Quad 1 victories. He was 78-77 (.503) in his five seasons in Columbia.
Martin and his wife, Roberta, have two sons, Joshua and Chase, and a daughter, Addison. Chase is a senior on the Purdue men’s basketball team.
Martin’s contract is a five-year agreement through the 2028-29 season, with a base salary of $600,000. Additional achievement incentives for NCAA and NIT appearances, conference championships, coaching honors and other standards are also included in the agreement.
Martin replaces Dana Ford who compiled a 106-82 overall record in six seasons at Missouri State (2018 to 2024).


The news continues to pile up, and it’s looking more and more likely that former Bears head coach Cuonzo Martin will be back coaching at Great Southern Bank Arena.

Jeff Goodman and Pete Thamel both reported last night that Missouri State University and Martin had agreed, in principle, to a five-year contract.

There has still been no confirmation from the university, and specific details of the deals such as the annual salary and other incentives have not been released.

Martin was the head coach of the Bears from 2008-2011 before stops at Tennessee, Cal-Berkeley, and the University of Missouri.

The East St. Louis, Illinois native was 61-41 during his first tenure in Springfield, including a 26-9 season in his final year in which the Bears won the programs only regular season Missouri Valley Conference title.

Again, this move is not official as MSU has not made an announcement on the hiring.

However, Tuesday morning on the Sports Reporters on ESPN the Jock, former Bear Adam Leonard confirmed he had talked with Martin, and told him he was coming back to Missouri State.