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UT’s Martin Joins SEC Hoops’ Best-Ever Photo Collection

Over the past few years we’ve seen some pretty memorable photographs of SEC basketball coaches.

Ex-LSU coach Trent Johnson gave us this classic “Who told you to put a balm on it?” look:
















Ex-Arkansas coach John Pelphrey provided a “Scanners” pose:

















The current Florida assistant also reminds us of ex-Men at Work frontman Colin Hay:



colin-hay-john-pelphrey copy












Then, of course you have Florida head coach Billy Donovan, whose widow’s peak has led to comparisons to Eddie Munster:


billy eddie














Everyone remembers this mugshot of Mississippi’s Andy Kennedy:


andy kennedy















Kentucky’s John Calipari looks like he stepped right out of a mob movie.  Whether he’s threatening to shoot a guy, begging for his life, or getting gunned down, Coach Cal is ready for “The Godfather Part IV.”























Now Tennessee’s Cuonzo Martin has a badass photo for the gallery of SEC’s best.

















Yikes.  You’d never guess Martin played for Gene Keady at Purdue, wouldya?

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Writer: Martin’s Style Of Play Might Turn Off Vol Fans

David Climer of The Tennessean believes the style of play favored by new Tennessee hoops coach Cuonzo Martin could be a downer for Vol fans.

… many are concerned that Martin’s coaching philosophy — based on the principles taught by his old college coach, Gene Keady — will be a turn-ff to UT’s fan base.  The spike in attendance, not to mention the refurbishing of the arena, came when (Bruce) Pearl was entertaining fans by reeling off victories with a pressing defense and an offensive high-wire act.

So in addition to replacing a popular, successful coach, inheriting a questionable roster as well as NCAA sanctions and probation, and working for a lame duck athletic director… Martin will also need to play an aesthetically pleasing style of basketball, too?

Perhaps it would be better if Vol fans — who’ve been through the ringer in recent years — simply support their new coach and hope that he wins without drawing the attention of the NCAA.  For a program with Tennessee’s shaky history, it seems a bit presumptuous for some to demand style points on top of actual points.

Had the Volunteers been able to lure Butler’s Brad Stevens to Knoxville — as many Big Orange fans had hoped — would there have been concerns about his deliberate style of play?

Interestingly, this year’s Tennessee team averaged 69.9 points per game under Pearl.  Martin’s Missouri State club averaged 69.8.

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How The SEC Found Its Hoops Coaches

Mike Anderson and Cuonzo Martin have completed the set.  The SEC now has a full roster of 12 basketball coaches again and we thought it would be interesting to compare their resumes when they were hired. 

As we showed yesterday, there’s really no guarantee when it comes to hiring hoops coaches.  Some promoted assistants and mid-major hires have done well.  Some proven BCS-level coaches have gone belly-up (with a number leaving the SEC under an NCAA cloud). 

So below, here’s what the SEC’s 12 schools had to go on when they brought in their current coaches:

Year Hired
Hired From
Record at Time (NCAA Bids)
Record Since Hire (NCAA Bids)
Anthony Grant
76-25 (2)
41-26 (0)
A former Billy Donovan aide
Mike Anderson
200-98 (6)
0-0 (0)
A former Nolan Richardson aide
Tony Barbee
93-72, (1)
11-20, (0)
A former John Calipari aide
Billy Donovan
35-20, (0)
360-147 (11)
A former Rick Pitino aide
Mark Fox
123-43 (3)
35-28 (1)
A former Trent Johnson aide
John Calipari
445-140 (11*)
62-11 (2)
*Has had several wins and 2 NCAAs vacated
Trent Johnson
159-122 (4)
49-48 (1)
Had built 2 programs up
Miss. State
Rick Stansbury
Asst. Coach, MSU
0-0 (0)
272-151 (6)
Asst. on predecessor’s staff
Ole Miss
Andy Kennedy
Interim, Cincinnati
21-13 (0)
105-64 (0)
A former Bob Huggins aide
S. Carolina
Darrin Horn
W. Kentucky
111-48 (1)
50-42 (0)
Replaced ex-UGA coach D. Felton at WKU
Cuonzo Martin
Missouri State
61-41 (0)
0-0 (0)
A former Gene Keady aide
Kevin Stallings
Illinois State
123-63 (2)
236-147 (5)
A former Gene Keady aide

As you can see, a lot of hay has been made over coaches’ connections to other coaches.  Lineage is still important in the South.  Eight of the league’s 12 coaches were hired — in large part — because of whose coaching tree they’d sprouted from.

In terms of the best pre-SEC track record, that would clearly belong to John Calipari.  But.  Kentucky had to endure quite a bit of ridicule for hiring a man of Calipari’s reputation (whether it was fairly earned or not).  Soon after arriving in Lexington, his 2007-2008 NCAA runner-up at Memphis was stricken from the record books because of an ineligible player.  Coach Cal — as UK fans will quickly point out — was never charged by the NCAA in the scandals at UMass and Memphis.  Still, it was a bold hire… which seems to be paying big dividends already.

When it comes to unproven before their SEC arrivals, Billy Donovan, Cuonzo Martin and Andy Kennedy lead the pack.  Donovan had just two years under his belt with no NCAA tourney appearances when UF snapped up the former Rick Pitino assistant.  Two national titles later and that one looks like a good roll of the dice. 

Tennessee fans can cross their fingers about Martin.  He has just three years under his belt and has not reached an NCAA tournament either.  Like Donovan, his main claim to fame comes from his coaching ties.  In his case — like Kevin Stallings — Gene Keady is at the head of the coaching tree (as well as current Purdue coach Matt Painter).

Kennedy had served one season as the interim head coach at Cincinnati following the ouster of Bob Huggins.  Like Donovan and Martin, Kennedy’s work under a proven head coach provided the impetus for the hire.

Rick Stansbury is the SEC’s only current assistant-to-head-coach promotion.  But MSU administrators were well aware of him as he had served on predecessor Richard Williams’ staff.

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