Since it was first reported that Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes had emerged as a “serious candidate” for the head coaching vacancy at UCLA, several more pieces of information have come out. We have all the latest updates for you here that you might’ve missed late last night or early this morning.
Shortly after that initial report from Evan Daniels of 247Sports, Ben Bolch of the L.A. Times reported that both Barnes and Oklahoma’s Lon Kruger had interviewed for the UCLA position and that Barnes would “definitely accept” if formally offered the job.
Later on Sunday night, Kruger released a statement stating that he had never interviewed for the UCLA job.
“I have not interviewed for the job at UCLA, nor have I had any contact with anyone from UCLA,” Kruger said via a statement.
According to UCLA’s 247Sports site, the initial report of Kruger interviewing at UCLA was “erroneous,” and reports of him being a serious candidate were “inaccurate.”
The same, apparently, can’t be said for Barnes.
According to WBIR Sports, UCLA officials were in Knoxville over the weekend and made Barnes an official offer for multiple years. That report also claims that Barnes is UCLA’s “No. 1 priority” and that Tennessee knows that and is “discussing the situation.”
Russell Bivens of WBIR — along with Tony Basilio and John Brice — reported late Sunday night that Tennessee Athletics Director Phillip Fulmer and Barnes were meeting on UT’s campus to discuss the situation. Bivens goes on to claim that Barnes’ decision “will not be based on a dollar amount” and that “we will know within 24 hours.” That was posted at 12:02 AM on Sunday night/Monday morning.
Not only that, but Bivens reported that UCLA isn’t the first team to come after Barnes this offseason.
Per Bivens, Arkansas pursued Barnes at some point during their coaching search, and “money was not an issue” in their pursuit. Bivens claims that Barnes told Arkansas he “would not do that to Tennessee” and that he’s unwilling to listen to teams within the conference.
We will update as more info emerges.