KNOXVILLE — One day after taking a further step into uncertainty, Cuonzo Martin's status as Tennessee's men's basketball coach stayed in a holding pattern Monday.
According to an ESPN report, citing anonymous sources, shortly after midnight on Sunday, the Volunteers' coach met with Marquette officials on Sunday and there is "significant interest" from the Golden Eagles.
Martin did not return a phone call from the Times Free Press on Monday evening.
Reports Monday afternon by CBS Sports and the Durham (N.C.) Herald-Sun said Marquette interviewed Duke assistant coach Steve Wojciechowski earlier in the day.
Former UCLA coach Ben Howland also has been linked to the opening, but it is publicly unknown if Marquette has made a formal offer to any candidates.
Tennessee typically declines to comment on the coaching searches of other programs, and it's likely Martin met with athletic department officials Monday after speaking with Marquette. The buyout for the Vols' coach if he left Monday was $2.6 million, but that figure dips to $1.3 million today.
In his third season, Martin led the Vols from the brink of missing the NCAA tournament for a third straight year in late February to the program's seventh appearance in the tournament's round of 16. There the Vols lost 73-71 to Michigan last Friday night in Indianapolis.
At $1.35 million, Martin, who won 19, 20 and 24 games in his first three seasons with the Vols, ranked 11th in the SEC despite finishing second, fifth and fourth in the league. He received $75,000 in incentives for reaching the NCAA tournament and advancing to the Sweet 16, and the run warrants a raise and contract extension.
Though Tennessee likely would add multiple years to the two remaining on Martin's five-year contract, it's unlikely it would bump his salary to $2 million a year.
Buzz Williams, who bolted for Virginia Tech on March 21 after six seasons with the Golden Eagles, reportedly made $2.8 million at Marquette, which doesn't have a football program, plays in the basketball-only new-look Big East Conference and shares the BMO Harris Bradley Center with the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks.
Hopson joins Cavs
The Cleveland Cavaliers announced Monday it had signed former Tennessee star Scotty Hopson to a two-year contract.
The 6-foot-7 wing, a former five-star recruit from Kentucky, averaged 12.7 points in 103 games for the Vols from 2009 to '11. After leading Tennessee in scoring at 17 ppg in 2010-11, Hopson declared for the NBA draft after Martin replaced the fired Bruce Pearl, but he went undrafted.
After one season in Greece and another in Israel, Hopson played in the NBA's summer league last year with the Miami Heat. He was playing in Turkey this season. He averaged 7.2 points in 12 Turkish league games and 15.5 points on 62.5 percent shooting with 4.2 rebounds in 11 Euroleague games.
Hopson joins C.J. Watson (Indiana Pacers) and Tobias Harris (Orlando Magic) as former Vols currently on active NBA rosters.
Contact Patrick Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...