Kentucky made a bold move to show its commitment to moving the football program forward by promoting assistant coach Tee Martin to passing game coordinator and also giving him a "significant" pay raise and contract extension to make sure he didn't leave.
"This is one of biggest recruits we have been able to land," said Kentucky coach Joker Phillips Saturday when he announced Martin's promotion. "We have been working with Tee on his contract since the season ended because of the impact he made on this program on the field and mentoring kids off the field and also in recruiting.
"We hired Tee at this time last year. We got questions about he had never coached wide receivers. That has nothing to do with it. You find a guy who is a great teacher, communicator and has a passion for the game. That's why we hired him."
And why Kentucky wanted to keep him rather than potentially lose him to a school like Alabama where the Mobile, Ala., native has been rumored to be high on the Tide's list for a vacant position.
Martin, a starting quarterback on Tennessee's national championship team, is immensely popular with players and has been an effective recruiter. He also has tremendous loyalty to Phillips for giving him his first Division I job and to UK offensive coordinator Randy Sanders, his position coach at Tennessee.
"I am elated. I am so excited about the feeling of being wanted. Guys I have tremendous respect for reached out to me to be their coach and they are showing their appreciation and what they think of me by keeping me around," Martin said. "That is the blessing of all this.
"You have to prove yourself every day. I understand what that means. We want to take our program to a championship level. Now the work begins and we look forward to that."
Martin said he did not interview at any other school, but he did have people wanting to "gauge his interest" in leaving Kentucky.
"I remained loyal to my boss. We have spent a lot of time on the road the last week, but the minute I heard something, he heard," Martin said. "I am loyal to who is loyal to me. I would fall on a sword for this guy (Phillips). I want to be here. To me, this is a no-brainer.
"I am excited about coming to work. Coach Phillips is a tremendous coach to work for. I have a staff of guys that are just great people. That is what helps us in recruiting. People feel that love and passion we have to take this program to the next level. It was a no-brainer for me to stay."
Tee Martin: Staying was a no-brainer
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