Fans have change of heart about Cuonzo

Knoxville, Tenn. (WVLT) -- What a difference a few weeks can make. Not too long ago, many fans thought Coach Cuonzo Martin should be shown the door. Now as the Vols prepare for the Sweet 16, Big Orange Nation is having a change of heart.

The Sports Animal's Jimmy Hyams heard it first hand.

"It's unbelievable how three games have changed people's perception.”

He adds, “There were a lot of fans upset with Cuonzo Martin after the second Texas A&M loss.”

Basketball isn't like football where you play 12 regular season games. Instead, you play 30, have a conference tournament, then there's post season.

“And how you do in the NCAA Tournament carries a lot of weight in determining the success of your season,” says Hyams.

Owner of Nothing Too Fancy, Lisa Barnett says, “We had several customers come in and request a 'Bring Back Bruce' shirt.”

After about three weeks, those same shirts are now marked down 40 percent and cost just $15.

“A lot of opinions have changed about Cuonzo Martin, it's gone from 'we need to get rid of Cuonzo Martin' to 'let's keep him, we need to give him an extension and a raise,” says Hyams.

University of Tennessee student Alex Gibson says it takes more than a t-shirt though, to show your true colors.

“As a true Vol fan, you got to know that it's not situational, you're a Vol fan for everything and those players if they really want it they're going to get it..."

It's pride found all over campus.

With fans and players now heading to the Sweet 16, Barnett says “I think fans are going to be okay with having him around a little bit longer.”

The Vols face Michigan on Friday at 7:15P.M.


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