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Mizzou hires Cuonzo Martin as men's basketball coach

FILE - In this Jan. 5, 2017, file photo, California head coach Cuonzo Martin yells during a game against UCLA. Martin was named Missouri's new head coach on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Michael Owen Baker, File)

Missouri's search for a new men's basketball coach is over.

Mizzou officially announced the hiring of Cuonzo Martin late Wednesday afternoon. Martin stepped down as head coach at California earlier in the day.

ESPN reported Martin's deal is worth about $21 million over seven years. That would make him the highest paid basketball coach in MU history.

“We are thrilled that Cuonzo is returning to the Midwest and that his family will now call Columbia home,” MU 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 reignite 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.”

Martin owns a career record of 186-121 in his nine years as a head coach. The East St. Louis native spent three years each at Missouri State, Tennessee and Cal. He's taken his teams to the postseason seven times in nine years.

Martin led Missouri State to the Missouri Valley Conference championship in 2011. After compiling a 61-41 record in Springfield, he left for Tennessee, where he guided the Vols to a 63-41 record. Tennessee made back-to-back NIT appearances before advancing to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament in 2014.

Martin spent the past three years at California, where he went 62-39. The Golden Bears made the NCAA Tournament last season after finishing third in the Pac-12. California went 21-13 this season. The Golden Bears lost to Cal-Bakersfield in a first-round NIT game Tuesday night.

Missouri will officially introduce Martin next Monday at 4:00 at Mizzou Arena.

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