Tee Martin: 5 things to know about former UT Vols quarterback
It's been two decades, but a familiar face will be part of Tennessee football for the 2019 season.
Tee Martin has agreed to join coach Jeremy Pruitt's staff as an assistant coach, ESPN reported early Tuesday morning, citing sources. ESPN reported that Martin's role on the staff is being finalized.
Here are five things to know about the 40-year-old Martin:
The Peyton Manning era ended in 1997 after one of the strongest stretches in Tennessee football history. But it got even better in 1998.
Martin helped lead Tennessee to its most recent national championship, quarterbacking the Vols to a 13-0 record and a win against Florida State in the Fiesta Bowl.
The follow-up wasn't bad either, as Martin and the Vols went to another BCS bowl in 1999. He did it all with Phillip Fulmer as coach. Now, Fulmer is UT's athletic director.
It's all about that offense with Martin, who has spent his career working on the offensive side of the football and developing a good reputation for it.
Martin broke into the Division I college coaching world in 2009 with New Mexico before bouncing to Kentucky for a pair of seasons. He was at Southern California from 2012-18, starting as the wide receivers coach on Lane Kiffin's staff.
He took on the passing game coordinator role for two seasons before becoming the offensive coordinator in 2016.
In 2017, Martin was named one of 15 semifinalists for the Broyles Award, given to the nation's top assistant.
USC ranked in the top 20 nationally in total offense in Martin's first two seasons as the offensive coordinator. Sam Darnold was the Trojans' quarterback. USC transitioned from Darnold to freshman JT Daniels this season and slipped to 84th in total offense.
He was not retained after the Trojans went 5-7 in 2018 under Clay Helton.
Turning down Tennessee
Former Vols coach Butch Jones tried to bring Martin back to Knoxville in December 2012 when he courted the Tennessee great to be the wide receivers coach at UT.
Martin passed on the opportunity, issuing a statement to say he was honored to receive the opportunity to come back to Tennessee.
"My decision to remain at USC was the toughest I have ever had to make because Tennessee is such a special place to me," Martin said. "At the end of the day, I am a man of my word. I promised Coach (Lane) Kiffin when I was hired at USC that I had goals I wanted to accomplish here. We still have work to do here to reach those goals. I see a great future at USC with the players on our roster and the recruits we have coming in.
"I have so much love and respect for Tennessee. But at this time, the right decision was to continue at USC and I am looking forward to doing that."
Kid in different orange
Martin's son, Amari Rodgers, was a highly recruited wide receiver out of Knoxville Catholic. He was ranked the No. 117 player in the nation in the 2017 class, according to the 247Sports Composite.
He committed to USC, where is dad was an assistant at the time, before changing his mind and choosing the Tigers.
Rodgers helped Clemson win a national championship in January. He had two receptions for 30 yards in the 44-16 win over Alabama.
Rodgers had his career-best performance in a 59-10 victory over Florida State on Oct. 27, when he caught six passes for 156 yards.
He finished his sophomore season with 54 receptions for 570 yards and two touchdowns.
Rodgers had 11 catches for 67 yards in seven games as a freshman.
Martin is married to LaToya Martin, formerly LaToya Rodriguez aka the singer Toya. She had a hit in 2001 titled "I Do!!" that peaked at No. 16 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.
Want to stay informed on the latest Vols news? A Knox News subscription gets you unlimited access to the best inside information and updates on Tennessee athletics, plus podcasts like Volunteer State, newsletters like Go Vols Xtra and the ability to tap into sports news from throughout the USA TODAY Network's 109 local sites. Click here to subscribe.