Tampa, Florida — Konzo Martin will not return next season as head coach for the Missouri State men’s basketball program, a source told Post-Dispatch Friday, the day after the Tigers’ season ended in Tampa, Florida, with a second round. Loss in the Southeast Conference Championship. Mizzou officially announced the decision Friday night.
Martin, 50, left with a five-year record of 78-77, 35-53 in regular season games at the Southeastern Conference and 3-4 in the SEC. He was 0-2 in NCAA Championship games, losing in the first round in 2018 and 2021. After his 20-13 debut season, Martin’s second and third team finished under 0.500 (15-17, 15-16) prior to last year’s turnaround season, when The Tigers started 13-3 and peaked at number 10 in national opinion polls. But they collapsed, losing seven of their last 10 matches, leading to a drastic roster rebuilding that didn’t take shape as planned. The Tigers finished 12-21 this season, only the sixth season of 20 losses in the team’s history.
Search consultant Eddie Vogler, former head coach at South Carolina and Vanderbilt, will assist Mizu in the national search for a replacement for Martin. MU athletics director Desiree Reed-Francois previously employed former coach’s company, Fogler Consulting, when she hired TJ Otzelberger as a basketball coach at UNLV.
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“Coach Martin has represented the university with an extremely high level of sophistication and dignity,” athletics director Desiree Reed-Francois said in a statement. “He is a man of high character and I have the utmost respect for him, and we are grateful for his contributions to our program, both inside and outside the room. He is not only a coach, but a teacher, and he has made an impact in the lives of every student-athlete who has participated in the program over the past five years. We do not wish him , Roberta, and their family nothing but the best for the future.”
“I think Mizzou is one of the best men’s basketball coaching jobs in the country,” she added. “Our university is the flagship institution of our great state and a member of the Southeastern Conference, which is the premier league in college athletics. We are in a recruiting focus and there is an amazing alignment between our department, our president, and our Board of Trustees. We have—and will continue to—invest in a men’s basketball program and look forward to serving as the leader. We will bring the new program to our community in the near future. We will work quickly and quickly to find the most suitable candidate to continue building our heroic culture.”
Martin, a resident of East St. Louis, has two years left on his original seven-year contract. By holding the NCAA Championship twice during his first four seasons, Martin fired two clauses into his contract prohibiting Mizzou from firing him without reason until after April 30, 2022 and then owing him $6 million. The total acquisition could have fallen to $3 million if MU had launched Martin after April 30, 2023.
MU plans to fully fulfill the terms of Martin’s contract, which states that liquidated damages can be paid in equal monthly instalments until April 30, 2024 or in a lump sum “as may be negotiated and agreed upon by the parties.”
Among the potential candidates that Mizo could explore are North Texas’ Grant McCasland, Drake’s Darian Davis, Murray State’s Matt McMahon, Cleveland State’s Dennis Gates, Baylor assistant Jerome Tang and former Mizu player Kim English, in his first year as head coach at George Mason.
This was Martin’s third losing season in five years at MU, but the Tigers were much closer to failing in the other two seasons. Fans at the Mizzou Arena are more sparse than usual as MU ranked 12th in attendance among SEC teams this season, averaging 6,600 fans per game. In November, Martin signed his highest recruiting score since his first few weeks on the job five years ago, but that wasn’t enough to inspire hope that he could revive the program in the near future.
Instead, Tiger’s team will launch its fifth head-training search in the past 16 years, a revolving door that underscores the program’s failure to maintain any iota of success over the past two decades.
This time around, though, Reed-Francois is looking for coaching, though the first-year director of athletics will certainly have strong input from strong university system president Moon Choi, influential promoters, past and current members of the UM System Board of Trustees, and several who They can’t help throwing their weight when it comes to the important athletics department.
Another challenge for MU: This will be Mizzou’s first major athletics designation since the NCAA allowed instant eligibility for transfers, as well as name movement, image and likeness. This means that existing players and signed recruits can be key components of poaching. A source confirmed Friday that MU’s two top returning players, Kobe Brown and Travon Brasil, have already been contacted by representatives from other schools, as well as four-star recruit Aidan Shaw, who signed with MU last fall.
Martin’s fifth season came early with a home loss to Kansas City — an ominous response to former coach Kim Anderson’s first home game, and another frustrating loss to the Russians — and then a barely competitive effort on the road against Liberty and Florida State. Before the calendar turned to 2022, the Tigers’ lack of depth, talent, and continuity was exposed in blast losses in Kansas, Illinois, and Kentucky.
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