Updated at 4:45 p.m. on Jan. 19, 2019
KNOXVILLE — Tee Martin, the quarterback of Tennessee's 1998 national championship team, was introduced as Volunteers football coach Jeremy Pruitt's newest assistant late in the first half of the Alabama-Tennessee men's basketball game Saturday afternoon at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Martin has spent the past seven seasons at the University of Southern California, where he served as wide receivers coach and was also the offensive coordinator the past three years.
"I'm excited to welcome back Tee Martin as one of our assistant coaches," Pruitt said in a news release. "He coordinated some of the nation's top offenses at USC, and he develops and identifies players as well as any coach in the country. He's an excellent recruiter, and he is terrific at building relationships with his players. He cares about developing young men on and off the field. Tee was the quarterback on one of the greatest teams in school history, winning a national championship. He knows what it takes to win here, and I'm excited to have him on staff."
After a professional playing career of three years in the National Football League and two in the Canadian Football League, Martin's college coaching career started at New Mexico in 2009. He then spent two seasons at Kentucky before his time at USC.
Martin was named national recruiter of the year by 247Sports.com in 2016 and was a semifinalist for the Broyles Award — given to the nation's top assistant football coach — in 2017. USC won the Rose Bowl after the 2016 regular season and the Pac-12 championship in 2017.
He coached 11 future NFL draft picks at USC and Kentucky, including five receivers chosen in the first two rounds. At USC, he also worked with quarterback Sam Darnold, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 draft who recently completed his rookie season with the New York Jets.
At Tennessee, Martin started his final two seasons after backing up Peyton Manning as an underclassman. After leading the Vols to SEC and national titles during his 13-0 junior season, when Tennessee beat Florida State to win the Fiesta Bowl that served as first BCS national championship game, Martin took them back to the Fiesta Bowl as a senior.
For his Tennessee career, he totaled 4,592 passing yards with 32 touchdowns while rushing for 614 yards and 16 more scores. He won 22 of his 25 games as a starter for a winning percentage of .880, which remains the best in school history for a starting quarterback.
Martin played under head coach Philip Fulmer, who is now the school's athletic director and hired Pruitt in December 2017.
"It's the perfect time to come back home," Martin said in the news release. "With Coach Fulmer's support, Coach Pruitt is taking the Tennessee program in the right direction, and I'm excited to be a member of this outstanding coaching staff. I truly love this university and I bleed Orange and White. My time here was the greatest four years I could've ever imagined on and off the field. It's my goal to help our Tennessee football student-athletes have the same experiences I had when I was a student here.
"It's great to be home."
Martin's official title and duties have not been announced, but according to multiple media reports Saturday, Vols safeties coach Charles Kelly has been hired at Alabama. It has been reported that Kelly — who came to Tennessee last season after spending the previous five at Florida State (four as defensive coordinator) — previously turned down an offer to be the defensive coordinator at Maryland.
Kelly's exit would open a spot for Martin to serve as an on-field assistant and give the Vols 10 of those, the maximum allowed by the NCAA.