If you’ve followed the Georgia Bulldogs long enough, you’ll remember the name of Willie Martinez.
He’s a former beleaguered defensive coordinator at UGA, and of the few assistants that Mark Richt fired during his lengthy tenure as head coach of the Bulldogs.
On Wednesday, it was revealed that Martinez is returning to the SEC at one of Georgia’s main rivals — Martinez has been hired as an assistant at Tennessee, per multiple reports.
This will be Martinez’s second tour of duty at Tennessee, as he also worked under Butch Jones. Wednesday’s news wasn’t surprising, as Martinez is following new Tennessee coach Josh Heupel from Central Florida to the Volunteers.
This time at Tennessee, Martinez will be joined by another familiar face from Georgia, as former Bulldogs assistant Rodney Garner is the team’s assistant for the defensive line.
Back to Georgia: After the Bulldogs finished 7-5 in 2009, Richt was under tremendous public pressure and decided to fire Martinez as defensive coordinator, along with two other assistants. Martinez had been at UGA for nine seasons before his dismissal. Martinez. was a frequent target of fan frustration, fairly or unfairly.
“It was definitely not a one-year, knee-jerk reaction to one season, I can promise you that,” Richt said told ESPN at the time. “It was more a decision that was made over the course of time, more time than just one year.”
Since leaving Georgia, Martinez has coached at Oklahoma, Auburn, Cincinnati, Central Florida and Tennessee (now twice). Maybe the second time will be a charm.