Kingsport Times-News: Tee Martin: 'It's the perfect time to come back home'
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Tee Martin: 'It's the perfect time to come back home'

Associated Press • Jan 20, 2019 at 12:00 PM

KNOXVILLE — Two decades after quarterbacking Tennessee’s last national championship team, Tee Martin is returning to his alma mater as an assistant coach.

Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt announced Saturday that Martin has joined his staff. Martin’s specific title and duties haven’t been released yet.

“It’s the perfect time to come back home,” Martin said in a statement released by the university.

ESPN first reported that Tennessee had hired Martin, the starting quarterback for Tennessee’s 1998 national championship team.

Martin spent the last seven years on Southern California’s staff, most recently as offensive coordinator. He had play-calling duties stripped from him in late October and was dismissed along with several other USC assistants after the season. USC went 5-7 for its first losing season since 2000.

Martin was a semifinalist for the 2017 Frank Broyles Award given annually to college football’s top assistant coach. He was chosen the 247Sports national recruiter of the year in 2016.

Before coming to USC, Martin was an assistant coach at New Mexico (2009) and Kentucky (2010-11).

“He coordinated some of the nation’s top offenses at USC, and he develops and identifies players as well as any coach in the country,” Pruitt said in a release. “He’s an excellent recruiter, and he is terrific at building relationships with his players. He cares about developing young men on and off the field.”

Martin posted a 22-3 record as the Vols’ starting quarterback. He threw for 4,592 yards and 32 touchdowns while also rushing for 614 yards and 16 TDs during his Tennessee career.

“He knows what it takes to win here, and I’m excited to have him on our staff,” Pruitt said.

Martin’s the second assistant coach with Tennessee ties to join Pruitt’s staff this month.

Pruitt announced last week that Jim Chaney is returning to Tennessee for a second stint as the Vols’ offensive coordinator. Chaney previously had that role from 2009-12 and spent the last three years as Georgia’s offensive coordinator.

Martin and Chaney both received standing ovations from a sellout crowd at Thompson-Boling Arena on Saturday when they made brief appearances at midcourt during a timeout in Tennessee’s basketball game with Alabama.

“My time here was the greatest four years I could’ve ever imagined on and off the field,” Martin said. “It’s my goal to help our Tennessee football student-athletes have the same experiences I had when I was a student here. It’s great to be home.”

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