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UT’s Jones Tries To Coax Favorite Son Martin Back To Knoxville

You can call it the first major recruiting pitch of new coach Butch Jones’ career at Tennessee.  Yesterday he spent the day wooing ex-Vol quarterback Tee Martin back to Knoxville.

But while many folks always believe any alum would kills for a chance to return to his old school as a coach, the reality is a little different.  For fans, of course a player would return.  For players-turned-coaches, there are little things like money, family happiness, and upward mobility that weight into the decision.

Perhaps that’s why Martin — who led UT to the 1998 BCS championship as quarterback — spent the day in Knoxville yesterday and then scrambled back to Los Angeles and his job as Southern Cal’s receivers coach this morning without giving Jones or his old school an answer.  Martin was on the Kentucky staff that snapped a long losing streak to Tennessee.  He then went to work with Lane Kiffin, one of the most hated sports figures in the history of the Volunteer State.  In case you haven’t been keeping up, sentimentality doesn’t appear to rank too high on Martin’s list of reasons to accept/decline a job.

“Things went really good,” Martin told The Knoxville News Sentinel.  “I had an opportunity to meet the staff and see everything that’s changed (on campus).  I could tell they were headed in the right direction…

“We’ll see what happens.  Today was more about getting to know each other… It’s about making this decision for the right reason.”

The ex-QB also told (paywall) — the Rivals site covering Tennessee — that he was going back to California to “talk with Lane and then make my decision.”

So is Martin heading back to Southern Cal’s campus to tell Kiffin bye-bye in a face-to-face meeting?  Is he trying to convince his singer wife Toya to move from LA to Knoxville?  Or is he just using Tennessee’s offer to get a raise in California?

Whatever Martin’s motivations, this should show fans of all schools that there’s more to accepting a job than just spending four college years on a school’s campus.  For an assistant it’s a career move, a business decision.  Even for an alum.  Even if his blood runs (insert school color here).


UPDATE – Multiple reports from Knoxville are claiming Martin has rebuffed Tennessee’s offer. Martin: “I made a commitment to my players at USC.”



If it's true that Tee will stay at USC, Coach Jones needs to find another SEC assistant.  Too much of his staff is being brought from Cincinnati.  We need more southeast ties.

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