January 31st, 2011 12:29 PM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Kentucky
Tags: Mitch Barnhart, Operation Win, Tee Martin, UK
It’s the middle of basketball season and yet folks in Kentucky actually have a little reason to smile about football today. Over the weekend, the powers-that-be at UK stepped up to the plate and did what it took to keep receivers coach Tee Martin in Lexington.
Martin had been rumored to be a hot candidate to join Nick Saban’s Alabama staff until Saturday when UK announced that Martin had been promoted to the role of “passing game coordinator.” He will also receive a contract extension and a raise.
Reports late last week pointed to an interview between Martin and Saban later this week. Martin has said that he was contacted by other schools but never actually interviewed with anyone.
Granted, we’re talking about giving an assistant coach a raise. This move isn’t akin to Arkansas committing to a $25-35 million football complex to appease Bobby Petrino. But it is a smart move by UK’s administration.
“Operation Win” turned into a disappointing 6-7 campaign for first-year coach Joker Phillips. The Wildcats failed to step up in a year when the SEC East was down. In addition, they had to watch South Carolina break through in the East. Then came the umpteenth (or would that now be umptieth?) loss in a row to Tennessee and a miserable showing in something called the BBVA Compass Bowl in chilly Birmingham.
The only positive going for the Cats right now is the popular Martin who is viewed as a fast up-and-comer and an excellent recruiter. On top of everything that went wrong in 2010, UK couldn’t start 2011 by losing the one guy fans are actually excited about.
“First thing I would like to say is the commitment of Mitch Barnhart and our athletic department has made to this program,” Phillips said Saturday. “Yes, we have been to five straight bowl games, and that is fine, but we want to start talking about playing for titles. that is what we are about here at Kentucky. Our ahtletic department has made a huge commitment also in helping us keep our assistant coaches here. This is probably one of the biggest recruits to land before (signing day) is Tee Martin.”
Indeed he is. Especially from a fan morale standpoint.
UK has not revealed the details of Martin’s extension or raise. As passing game coordinator he will be responsible for passing game schemes and heading up passing drills in practice.
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