Cuonzo Martin, Associate Head Coach at Purdue University, has been hired as the new Bears basketball coach at Missouri State University. Martin becomes the 16th head coach in the history of Missouri State. He will take over the reins of the program in time for the 100th anniversary of Missouri State’s basketball program and will inaugurate the Bears’ move into the $67 million 11,000-seat JQH Arena for the 2008-09 season.
Martin, a native of East St. Louis, Ill., was a star player at Purdue from 1991-95 for Coach Gene Keady and then played four years professionally. He has been on the coaching staff at Purdue for the past eight years under Keady and now Matt Painter.
The 36-year-old Martin was introduced at a news conference today (Wednesday, March 26) in Hammons Student Center. Earlier, his appointment was formally approved by the Board of Governors in a telephone conference call. Martin and his wife, Roberta, spent Tuesday and Wednesday on campus interviewing. While many candidates were screened and several interviewed, Martin was the only candidate invited to campus for a visit.
"I am excited to be joining such a great University and working with the faculty, staff and students," said Martin. "And I am ecstatic about having the chance to lead this basketball family. The Missouri State Basketball Program has a rich tradition and it is clear that the fans love the Bears. I am anxious to get to know and start working with our players. Our goals are to be productive on the court, in the classroom, and in the community. On the court, we want to play hard every minute of every game, and to win basketball games. I am confident we can be successful."
Martin replaces Barry Hinson, who had coached Missouri State for the past nine years. On March 9, the University announced that Hinson’s contact would not be renewed. Martin is expected to inherit two starters and six lettermen from a Missouri State team which finished 17-16 in the 2007-08 campaign. The Bears finished in a tie for seventh place in the Missouri Valley Conference with an 8-10 league record. Missouri State is in its 18th season in the MVC and has played at the Division I level for 26 years.