While Rick Barnes was deliberating between accepting UCLA’s offer to be their next head basketball coach and staying with the Vols, a ton of local Knoxville businesses pleaded with Barnes to stay with Tennessee.
A handful of restaurants promised Barnes free food for life, local professional teams such as the Tennessee Smokies and Knoxville Ice Bears offered him free tickets, and Dead End BBQ offered to donate to the Emerald Youth Foundation, one of the main charities Barnes spends time with in Knoxville.
During his press conference on Tuesday, Barnes said he didn’t know about all the offers and outpouring of support while they were happening, but he was “overwhelmed” once he found out about them after the fact.
This past week, Barnes decided to take up those businesses on their offers.
The official Tennessee basketball Twitter account posted a video on Saturday afternoon showing Barnes heading out to many of the restaurants that offered him free food. Barnes and the video and social media team that came with him even handed out gift baskets to the businesses and spoke with Vol fans along the way.
Here’s the full video of Barnes’ trip around Knoxville:
• Free 🌮 for life.
• Free 🍕 for life.
• Free 🍔 for life.
The offers were as generous as they were delicious. But it was the show of support that meant the most to Coach Barnes. pic.twitter.com/gpUxwe99MT
— Tennessee Basketball (@Vol_Hoops) April 20, 2019