The Tennessee basketball team has found their replacement for the final open coaching spot on the staff. Rick Barnes has hired Marquette assistant coach Justin Gainey.
Gainey spent the 2020-21 season as the associate head coach at Marquette under Steve Wojciechowski. It was his second stint on Wojciechowski’s staff, as he also worked with the Golden Eagles from 2014-17.
During his time between coaching at Marquette, Gainey was an assistant coach at Santa Clara in 2017-18 and Arizona from 2018-20. He assisted in the recruitment and development of Josh Green, Zeke Nnaji and Nico Mannion during his time with the Wildcats.
In his time before joining the Marquette staff the first time, Justin worked on Jason Capel’s staff at Appalachian State, from 2010-2014. His first year as an on-court assistant coach came at Elon, during the 2009-2010 season. He also spent time serving on staff at his alma mater North Carolina State, where he was the director of basketball operations starting in the 2008-2009 season.
Rick Barnes had this to say about the hiring of Gainey.
“I coached against Justin when he was the point guard at NC State,” Barnes said. “He was an incredibly tough competitor then, and he has that same tenacity now as a coach. Justin has a passion for on-court player development that fits well with our staff. Our players are going to love working with him to grow their game.”
“He’s proven that he can recruit effectively nationwide, and we’re particularly excited about his ability to maintain our strong ties throughout the state of North Carolina”, Barnes also added.
Gainey played point guard for NC State from 1996-2000.
This is a nice hire for the Vols, as they add another key recruiter to their staff, especially one with experience recruiting so many different areas. Tennessee players will benefit from his ability to develop, especially around the perimeter.
Now it’s time to get to work, as the Vols staff looks to work on the 2021-2022 roster, especially in the transfer portal. Losing two coaches in one cycle is always difficult, but being able to fill those spots rather quickly shows what kind of program Barnes has built in Knoxville, as coaches want to be at Tennessee.