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Rick Barnes Has Filled One Of His Assistant Coaching Spots

Photo by Jack Dempsey/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

The University of Tennessee has announced the hiring of men’s basketball assistant coach Rod Clark. The Vols lost Kim English and Desmond Oliver over the last week and Rick Barnes has been eager to find one of his replacements.

Coach Barnes had the chance to vet multiple candidates and take the time needed to find the right coach for Tennessee.

“We had an opportunity to be very selective in making this hire, and I couldn’t be more excited about adding Rod to our staff,” Barnes said. “We weren’t the only high-major program who wanted him, but thankfully he wanted to be at Tennessee. He fits everything we prioritize in our program culture, and I know he is going to connect with our players in a special way.”

The Kansas City, Missouri native spent this past season as an assistant coach at Austin Peay, where the Governors had the OVC Player of the Year, Terry Taylor.

Before coaching in the mid-state, the 28 year-old Clark broke into the college ranks as an assistant coach at the University of Illinois at Chicago, which is a member of the Horizon league. If you follow the recruiting of Tennessee basketball, you will know his previous stop.

Clark was the top assistant coach at Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas, from 2017-2019. Tennessee signee Kennedy Chandler currently plays for Sunrise Christian. Rod Clark was a key component in scouting for the program, also player development. Clark has plenty of experience on the Nike EYBL circuit, as he led his team to the “Peach Jam” championship in 2019, with Tennessee signee Kennedy Chandler being part of his roster.

The Vols are getting a young and energetic coach, who can make waves on the recruiting trail, which the Vols will need help at with the loss of both English and Oliver.

Tennessee assistant coach Mike Schwartz praised the recruiting ability of Clark.

“Rod understands how to develop college players and make them better. Before transitioning to the college game, he proved himself at the highest levels of high school and grassroots basketball. In doing so, he developed a powerful recruiting network built on genuine relationships.”

This hire should benefit the Vols in many ways, as Rick Barnes hires another young and upcoming coach to his staff.

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