Tennessee fills vacant head coaching position, Gophers fans unclench
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee is counting on Southern Mississippi's Donnie Tyndall to make the same successful transition from the mid-major ranks as the Volunteers' last two basketball coaches.
Tennessee announced Tuesday morning that Tyndall would be introduced as its new coach at a 2 p.m. news conference. The hire had first been reported by ESPN and CBS Sports.
Gophers head coach Richard Pitino reportedly was on Tennessee's 'short list,' according to ESPN's Jeff Goodman. According to 1500 ESPN contributor Darren Wolfson, Pitino would not be leaving for the vacant Tennessee job, but it came up at University of Minnesota athletics offices.
Tyndall replaces Cuonzo Martin, who went 63-41 in three seasons at Tennessee before California hired him on April 15. Martin led Tennessee to a 23-14 record and an NCAA regional semifinal appearance this season.
The 43-year-old Tyndall has gone 56-17 with a pair of NIT appearances in two seasons at Southern Mississippi. The Golden Eagles went 29-7 and reached the NIT quarterfinals this season.
Tennessee has had good luck in the past picking promising coaches from mid-major programs. Martin came to Tennessee in 2011 after three seasons at Missouri State. Martin was preceded by Bruce Pearl, who arrived at Tennessee from Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Pearl and Martin helped Tennessee reach regional semifinals in four of the last eight years.
Before coaching at Southern Mississippi, Tyndall went 114-85 with two NCAA tournament appearances in six seasons at Morehead State. His career highlight came in 2011 when he guided Morehead State to an NCAA tournament upset of Louisville.
Tyndall's best Morehead State teams featured Kenneth Faried, a first-round draft pick who plays for the NBA's Denver Nuggets.
Tyndall was born in Grand Rapids, Mich. He played at Iowa Central Community College from 1989-90 and at Morehead State from 1990-93.© The Associated Press