Martin's Men: A Look at UT Men's Basketball's New Assistant Coaches
Head Coach Cuonzo Martin isn’t the only new addition to the University of Tennessee Men’s Basketball coaching staff. Martin has appointed three new assistant coaches, Tracy Webster, Jon Harris and Kent Williams, to serve on his new look coaching staff.
Williams and Harris have served under Martin from 2008-2011 at Missouri State. During their tenure, the Missouri State Bears averaged 20 wins per season and won their first conference championship in 2010-11.
“This staff is full of guys who have been high-level players at the Division I level,” Head Coach Cuonzo Martin said. “So we know what it takes to not only perform at your best on the court, but also manage the demands of being a student-athlete.”
Harris’ coaching resume includes stops at Marquette (2002-03), Wisconsin (2003-08) and Missouri State (2008-11) before joining the Volunteers coaching staff. Previous to coaching, Harris was a two-year captain at Marquette who, alongside Miami Heat all-star Dwyane Wade, led the Golden Eagles to a 26-7 record and a No. 9 ranking in the Associated Press national poll.
"Jon Harris played at Marquette with one of the greatest players in the game in Dwyane Wade, so Jon really knows what it takes to be a great role player," Martin said. "And because of his effectiveness as a communicator, he can really help our guys understand and accept their roles—what does it take to be a great rebounder, a great post defender, to play with passion, energy and toughness around the basket? Those are things he can teach."
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Kent Williams has coached along side Cuonzo Martin since 2005. Williams served as a member of Purdue’s support staff following an impressive college career playing for Coach Bruce Weber at Southern Illinois from 2000-2003.
"Kent Williams is the second-leading scorer in Southern Illinois history," Martin said. "He knows how to score, how to get shots off, how to come off screens, how to read screens. He's another guy who our players can really relate with and learn from."
Williams is excited to work with the Volunteers and intends to keep UT’s up-tempo offense intact, while also improving on the defensive side of the ball. “Defense is probably going to be the most noticeable change,” Assistant Coach Kent Williams said.
“We want to be a man-to-man team and pressure the ball. We’ll probably explore different things from time to time, maybe zone or press a little bit," he said. "Offensively we want to get out and push it. We’ve always ran a motion in the past, so we’re gonna check and see if we stay with that. But what we really want to do is develop guys as basketball players.”
Of all the new coaches on Martin’s staff, Tracy Webster seems to be the most experienced. His collegiate coaching career began with Wisconsin-Parkside in 2000, and he has served as an assistant coach at Ball State (2001-2003), Purdue (2003-2004), Illinois (2005-2007), Kentucky (2007-2009), DePaul (2009-2010) and Nebraska (2010-2011) before joining Tennessee on April 5, 2011.
However, his relationship with Head Coach Cuonzo Martin spans back to his playing days at Wisconsin, where he and Martin were both All-Big Ten selections and rivals at Wisconsin and Purdue respectively.
"Tracy Webster was a great point guard," Martin said. "He has a great understanding and a great feel for how to play the game. He'll be a great teacher for our guards, because he was a really complete basketball player and he has a great mind for the game. "He also adds great experience coaching in the SEC, Big Ten and Big East."
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