Sports

Tennessee AD Dave Hart says adversity that Martin faced won't hinder Vols' coaching search

  • Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart announces Tennessee's Cuonzo Martin is leaving to be head coach at California during a news conference Tuesday, April 15, 2014, in Knoxville, Tenn. Hart said Martin's departure came as a surprise. (AP Photo/The Knoxville News Sentinel, Michael Patrick)

    Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart announces Tennessee's Cuonzo Martin is leaving to be head coach at California during a news conference Tuesday, April 15, 2014, in Knoxville, Tenn. Hart said Martin's departure came as a surprise. (AP Photo/The Knoxville News Sentinel, Michael Patrick)  (The Associated Press)

  • Cuonzo Martin sits at a news conference as he is introduced as the new men’s basketball coach at California in Berkeley, Calif., Tuesday, April 15, 2014. California hired Tennessee's Cuonzo Martin as its coach Tuesday, charging him with taking over another program after a successful run by his predecessor. Martin replaces Mike Montgomery, who retired last month after six seasons in Berkeley. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

    Cuonzo Martin sits at a news conference as he is introduced as the new men’s basketball coach at California in Berkeley, Calif., Tuesday, April 15, 2014. California hired Tennessee's Cuonzo Martin as its coach Tuesday, charging him with taking over another program after a successful run by his predecessor. Martin replaces Mike Montgomery, who retired last month after six seasons in Berkeley. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)  (The Associated Press)

  • Cuonzo Martin, second from right, smiles as he poses for photographs with, from left,  chancellor Nicholas Dirks, athletic director Sandy Barbour and vice chancellor John Wilton after Martin was introduced as the new men’s basketball coach at California at a news conference in Berkeley, Calif., Tuesday, April 15, 2014. California hired Tennessee's Cuonzo Martin as its coach Tuesday, charging him with taking over another program after a successful run by his predecessor. Martin replaces Mike Montgomery, who retired last month after six seasons in Berkeley. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

    Cuonzo Martin, second from right, smiles as he poses for photographs with, from left, chancellor Nicholas Dirks, athletic director Sandy Barbour and vice chancellor John Wilton after Martin was introduced as the new men’s basketball coach at California at a news conference in Berkeley, Calif., Tuesday, April 15, 2014. California hired Tennessee's Cuonzo Martin as its coach Tuesday, charging him with taking over another program after a successful run by his predecessor. Martin replaces Mike Montgomery, who retired last month after six seasons in Berkeley. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)  (The Associated Press)

Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart says the criticism former men's basketball coach Cuonzo Martin encountered this season shouldn't hinder the search for a successor.

Martin led Tennessee to an NCAA regional semifinal during a season in which disgruntled fans circulated a petition calling for the return of former coach Bruce Pearl, now at Auburn. Martin left Tuesday to take over California's program.

Martin was 63-41 in three years at Tennessee, including a 24-13 mark this season before falling to Michigan in the Midwest regional semifinal.

Hart acknowledged Martin faced plenty of "distractions" this season, but added that the Tennessee job remains "extremely attractive."

Hart says he wants a proven winner with a "significant track record," but didn't rule out selecting a "rising star."