Cuonzo and Marquette

Cuonzo Martin

InsideTennessee gives you colorful opinion, as well as in-depth information. Check out this opinion piece on the Vols' basketball coach:

Many years ago a female co-worker set me up on a blind date. We'll call this blind date Becky. The meeting went well initially as Becky turned out to be an exceptionally attractive blond.

Unfortunately, she spent most of our date talking about the guy she dated previously. It soon became evident that she was still hung up on him. Clearly, I was not going to get a legitimate chance to win her favor until she overcame this lingering infatuation with her ex.

I didn't know how long the infatuation would last but I was unwilling to wait, so I moved on. Ultimately, I decided I'd rather be with someone who appreciated me than with someone still pining for an ex.

I imagine Cuonzo Martin can relate to that story. He gladly accepted a blind date with the University of Tennessee basketball program, a very attractive job. As time wore on, however, he realized that a large segment of the fan base, like my blond acquaintance Becky, was still hung up on an ex – a fellow named Bruce Pearl.

I suspect Cuonzo has grown weary of hearing what a colorful character Pearl was … how he led the program to a No. 1 ranking and an Elite Eight … how he made basketball fun … how he had the Vols on track to make a Final Four someday … yada, yada, yada.

Marquette has an opening for a head basketball coach, and is showing interest in Cuonzo Martin. It isn't as attractive a job as Tennessee but he must be asking himself this question: Do I want to stay in a relationship with someone still pining for an ex or should I move on to someone less attractive but more inclined to accept me for who I am?

Obviously, Cuonzo Martin's situation with Tennessee is far more complicated than my situation with Becky.

I invested a few hours in Becky; Cuonzo has invested three years in Tennessee basketball.

I didn't have to uproot my family and move to another section of the country to pursue a new relationship. Cuonzo Martin will.

I walked away from Becky knowing she was 100 percent committed to her ex. The fact 17,000 fans showed up regularly at Thompson-Boling Arena this season suggests that a large segment of the Vol Nation has moved past Bruce Pearl and is strongly behind Cuonzo Martin.

Becky wasn't paying me $1.3 million to date her. That figure could hit $2 million once Cuonzo's contract is sweetened in the wake of this year's Sweet 16 run.

Clearly, there are some compelling reasons for Cuonzo Martin to stay in his relationship with Tennessee. Still, I could understand if he chooses to leave.

After all, 36,000 of Becky's friends never signed a petition suggesting she get back together with her ex.


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