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Rick Barnes Named Naismith Coach of the Year

Photo by Anne Newman/RTI

For the first time ever, a head coach of the Tennessee men’s basketball team is the Naismith Coach of the Year.

The Atlanta Tipoff Club announced on Sunday afternoon that Tennessee head basketball coach Rick Barnes was named the Naismith Men’s Coach of the Year. Barnes was named the United States Basketball Writers Association National Coach of the Year on March 25th of this year, and now he has another honor to add to his accomplishments.

Barnes helped lead Tennessee to a historic season in men’s basketball. The Vols tied the program record for most wins in a season (31), set a school record for most consecutive wins (19), earned only the third-ever No. 2 seed in program history in the NCAA Tournament, and made it back to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2014.

The 31 wins Barnes and the Vols achieved this season are tied for the most in a single season in Barnes’ 30-plus years of coaching. His 2007-08 Texas squad went 31-7 and made it to the Elite Eight. The Vols’ 83.8 percent winning percentage this season is the highest winning percentage of any team Barnes has ever coached.

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Under Barnes this season, Tennessee ascended to No. 1 in the AP Poll for only the second time ever in men’s basketball, and they stayed there for four-straight weeks, the longest run atop the polls in program history. Tennessee began the season ranked No. 6 in the AP Poll, their highest preseason ranking ever, and went wire-to-wire in the regular season as a top 10 team in the poll, marking the first time that had ever happened for Tennessee’s men’s basketball team.

“Rick Barnes has built an incredible program at Tennessee, and his coaching performance this season was worthy of the top award in college basketball, the Werner Ladder Naismith Trophy Men’s Coach of the Year,” Atlanta Tipoff Club Executive Director Eric Oberman said in a release. “We are honored to recognize Rick as the newest member of the Naismith Awards family.”

Tennessee set several single season records under Barnes’ direction this season. The Vols broke team records for most points scored in a season, most field goals made in a season, most assists in a season, most blocks in a season, and most wins in Thompson-Boling Arena in a season along with the previously mentioned records.

Barnes is only the 12th head coach ever to lead at least three different Division I programs to the Round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament. He’s accumulated an 88-50 record in his four seasons at Tennessee, including a 57-15 mark over the last two seasons.

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One Response

  1. I vote for Kara Lawson. Knowledgeable of the game inside out, one that comes closer in filling Pat’s shoes and well known for the recruiting circuit.
    Take note coach Fulmer!!!!!!!

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