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BREAKING: Rick Barnes Hired at Tennessee


The Tennessee Volunteers have a basketball coach – and he’s the most proven head coach in Tennessee basketball history. Rick Barnes, who parted ways with Texas over the weekend, has been hired to coach the Vols according to multiple sources.

Tennessee confirmed the hire later Tuesday morning, putting out a press release that included the following statement from athletics director Dave Hart:

“Rick Barnes is an elite basketball coach in every respect,” Hart said. “Rick brings an extremely impressive track record of excellence, as well as much-needed stability, to our men’s basketball program. This is an exciting day for our Tennessee family.”

Barnes, indeed, brings with him an impressive resume after leading Texas to new heights as a program. He was named Big 12 coach of the year four times during his 17 year tenure at Texas – the most recent award came just last season. At Texas, Barnes has been to 16 NCAA Tournaments in 17 years with an impressive 402–180 (.691) overall record. His 19 NCAA Tournament wins at Texas are more than the program had in its history before his arrival.

Prior to his time at Texas, he led Clemson to three NCAA Tournaments in four seasons and Providence to three NCAA Tournaments in six seasons. Overall he’s been to the Sweet 16 six times, the Elite 8 three times, the Final Four once and the NCAA Tournament 22 times – thats more Elite 8s, Final Fours and NCAA Tournament appearances than Tennessee basketball has in the program’s history. He also has more Sweet 16 appearances than Tennessee under the current NCAA Tournament format.

Simply put, everywhere he’s been, he won games. He averaged more than 23 wins per season at Texas and helped recruit some of the top classes in the nation.

In fact he has the No. 1 class in the Big 12 signed at Texas in 2015 according to 247Sports. During the last 12 years, he signed the No. 1 class in the Big 12 five times and recruited a top-3 class in the conference nine times.

Perhaps more importantly, he has the reputation as a clean coach who plays by the rules and he’s also known to be a genuinely good person. Both those traits are important in Knoxville where he’ll have to both abide by NCAA rules and be active in the community.

He lost his job at Texas – less than a year after signing an extension and one year after winning Big 12 coach of the year – because he wouldn’t throw his assistants under the bus at the request of the Texas administration. Over the weekend he pledged to get back into coaching quickly and that’s a promise he certainly kept by taking the Tennessee job.

Accepting the Tennessee job serves as a homecoming of sorts for the Barnes family. He coached at Clemson before heading to Texas and is originally from North Carolina. His wife, Candy, is a Tennessee graduate. Barnes is expected to be officially introduced at a press conference at 4 p.m. this afternoon.

According to his memorandum of understanding, he’ll make $2.25 million per season for six years. If he left Tennessee, he would owe the program $1 million per year remaining on his contract. The same holds true if Tennessee fired Barnes without cause. Barnes has multiple bonuses built into his contract.

He’d receive a $50,000 bonus for a regular season championship and a $25,000 bonus for winning the SEC Tournament. Barnes would also receive a bonus for one of the the following: a trip to the NCAA Tournament ($50,000), a Sweet 16 ($100,000), an Elite 8 ($150,000) or a Final Four ($250,000). Tennessee would owe Barnes a $500,000 bonus if he wins a national championship.

A single year APR of 960 or greater would net Barnes $25,000 while an APR of 980 or higher would earn him $50,000. Winning AP National Coach of the Year would earn Barnes an additional $50,000 while winning AP SEC Coach of the Year would award him $25,000.

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