On Friday, Georgia State’s basketball program officially announced the hiring of Tennessee assistant coach Rob Lanier as their next head coach. And the movement on Rick Barnes’ staff may not be over.
Lanier leaves the Vols after serving as Barnes’ top assistant and associate head coach for the last four seasons. Lanier was hired as part of Barne’s initial staff at Tennessee in 2015 and has been crucial on the recruiting trail and in game planning both. Now, he’ll get another shot at being a head coach.
Georgia State is proud to welcome Tennessee Associate Head Coach Rob Lanier to the #PantherFamily as our new men’s basketball head coach.
— GSU Men’s Basketball (@GeorgiaStateMBB) April 5, 2019
The 50-year-old coach has only been a head coach once before. He was the head coach of Sienna from 2001-05, going 58-70 in his four seasons there. He helped Sienna to the 2002 NCAA Tournament where they won their Opening Round game to get into the field of 64 teams. They would lose in the First Round to eventual national champion Maryland.
Since then, Lanier has been an assistant in the college basketball world.
Lanier served as an assistant at Virginia from 2005-07 then was hired onto Billy Donovan’s staff at Florida. He served under Donovan from 2007-10 before Rick Barnes hired him to come to Texas to serve under him. He coached under Barnes at Texas from 2011-15 and joined Barnes at Tennessee once he was hired as the Vols’ next head coach. He also served under Barnes as an assistant at Texas from 1999-2001.
But Lanier’s departure may not be the only staff changes Tennessee experiences this offseason.
Assistant coach Desmond Oliver, who has been with Barnes since he was hired at Tennessee in 2015, is considered one of the lead candidates for the head coaching vacancy at Kennesaw State. Oliver has never been a head coach before, but he’s been an assistant at Texas A&M, Cornell, St. Bonaventure, Rhode Island, Georgia, and Charlotte along with this time with the Vols.
If Oliver does go, Barnes will be left with Michael Schwartz as his only assistant coach on staff. Schwartz was brought in to replace Chris Ogden in 2016 after Ogden left to join Chris Beard’s staff at Texas Tech. Ogden is now the head coach at Texas Arlington.
A promotion from within for Barnes’ top assistant spot is certainly on the table, with Schwartz and Video Coordinator/Director of Player Development Bryan Lentz being the two most probable options. But a hire from outside the program is just as likely at this time.
We will update as more information becomes available.