Cuonzo Martin leaves Cal to coach at Missouri; Washington fires Lorenzo Romar

Cuonzo Martin leaves Cal to coach at Missouri; Washington fires Lorenzo Romar
Cuonzo Martin talks to guard Grant Mullins during California's game against Utah in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Conference tournament. (Ethan Miller / Getty Images)

In a whirlwind few hours, Cuonzo Martin resigned at California on Wednesday and was announced as the new coach at Missouri in his home state.

He's headed back to the place he knows so well, a big attraction to lure him away from Berkeley after three seasons.


Missouri scheduled a "campus celebration" for Monday open to the public. Martin will take over for the fired Kim Anderson.

"We are thrilled that Cuonzo is returning to the Midwest and that his family will now call Columbia home," Mizzou Athletic Director Jim Sterk said. "From the outset of our search, our goal was to find a coach who had demonstrated success, academically and on the court, while also sharing our values and who can help to re-ignite interest in Mizzou men's basketball among our fan base. I believe we found all of that and more with Cuonzo and I look forward to watching him compete for championships and postseason appearances for many years to come."

Cal announced Martin's resignation earlier in the day on the heels of the short-handed Golden Bears' first-round NIT loss at home to Cal State Bakersfield on Tuesday night.

Cal went 21-13 this season and tied for fifth place in the Pac-12. Martin was 62-39 overall, 29-25 in conference.

"We put forth our best effort to retain him, but he told me it wasn't about Cal, rather a strong desire to move closer to home," Cal AD Mike Williams said. "We appreciate all that Cuonzo has done with our men's basketball program over the past three seasons, creating excitement inside Haas Pavilion, guiding our team to a pair of postseason appearances and improving the academic performance of our student-athletes."

Romar fired at Washington

Washington fired Lorenzo Romar as coach after 15 seasons at the school, falling short of an NCAA tournament bid in the final six despite a steady stream of NBA talent.

Washington Athletic Director Jennifer Cohen announced the decision Wednesday, although a split between Romar and his alma mater seemed destined as the Huskies slogged through another lackluster season — even with freshman star Markelle Fultz, a projected top-five NBA draft pick.

"After evaluating our men's basketball program, I have determined that a change in leadership is necessary," Cohen said in a statement. "Today is particularly difficult because coach Romar is such a beloved member of our university community. I want to thank Lorenzo and his family for 15 years of dedicated service and sacrifice to our university."

Romar was 298-196 in his 15 seasons with the Huskies and was responsible for reinvigorating a downtrodden program, taking Washington to six NCAA tournaments and three appearances in the Sweet 16. But Romar's shortcoming was never getting Washington to a Final Four.

Washington went 9-22 this season, the worst of Romar's tenure, and was 2-16 in conference play.

“I was really looking forward to coaching our team next year and beyond. However, God had a different plan,” Romar said. “I am proud of a lot of things we were able to accomplish in the 15 years that we were here. I want to thank all of the coaches, players and staff who played a part in that success. I will always support the University of Washington, and pull for the Huskies.”