Go ahead and admit it.

When you first heard Tennessee had hired Cuonzo Martin, you probably had the same reaction you did when you learned Derek Dooley was hired by UT.

"Are you serious?"

"That's the best we can do?"

Yet exactly a year after losing to Michigan State in the Elite Eight by one point — March 28, 2010 — the Volunteers introduced a coach who had yet to even coach in an NCAA Tournament game.

But like Dooley, who had a career record of 16-20 in three seasons at Louisiana Tech before coming to Knoxville, the wins and losses don't reveal the whole story.

Instead, fans should look beyond Martin's 61-41 record in three seasons at Missouri State.

"Cuonzo is known as a great recruiter, a solid floor coach, person of great integrity, a great father, a great husband and now, he is known as the head coach of the University of Tennessee," men's athletics director Mike Hamilton said Monday at Martin's introductory press conference.

Martin's job at UT will be tough enough, especially if Tobias Harris and/or Scotty Hopson leave early for the NBA.

He's replacing a legend.

Bruce Pearl made Tennessee basketball what every Vol fan dreamed of it being.

And more importantly, Pearl won over the fan base.

Whoever UT hired was going to be given the task of replicating Pearl's success on the court.

Martin now has that job.

"For me, I embrace the success, because it's a program," he said. "I think you want to embrace it, and it helps you when you recruit when somebody has success. I mean, somebody has to follow (Pearl).

"If you don't want to follow him, you're afraid of competition, you're afraid of being successful. For me, I didn't really think about it like that. I thought it was a great opportunity to be a part of a great program."

He may not paint his chest for a Lady Vols home game or even wear an orange blazer against Kentucky and Vanderbilt — he said that decision was up to his wife.

But Martin needs the Tennessee fan base to support him.

He's not Bruce Pearl.

He's Cuonzo Martin.

The 39-year-old up-and-coming coach spent eight seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Purdue, under Gene Keady and Matt Painter before three seasons with the Bears of the Missouri Valley Conference.

He's a former NBA player, a cancer survivor and he was raised in East St. Louis, Ill.

Given his background, coaching basketball at Tennessee will be relatively easy.

And Vol fans shouldn't make his job any harder than it should be by comparing him to his predecessor in any area besides what happens on the court.

And even then, Hamilton believes Martin will succeed.

"Cuonzo will win at University of Tennessee," he said.

— Matt Dixon is a senior in journalism and electronic media. He can be reached at mdixon3@utk.edu and followed on Twitter at @MattDixon3.