Report: Former Rick Barnes, Tennessee Assistant Lands SMU Job

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    Former Tennessee associate head coach and current Georgia State head coach Rob Lanier is set to become SMU’s new head coach, CBS Sports Jon Rothstein first reported Friday.

    Lanier came with Barnes to Tennessee from Texas — serving as associate head coach at both spots. In Knoxville, Lanier played an integral role in the rebuild of the Tennessee basketball program. The New York City native was a part of an SEC Championship and Sweet 16 birth in his four years in Knoxville before leaving to become head coach at Georgia State.

    The Panthers have had a steady run of success in Lanier’s tenure, posting a 53-30 record in three seasons including a division title in 2021 and a conference tournament title and NCAA Tournament appearance this year.

    The NCAA Tournament birth was the second of Lanier’s head coaching career joining Sienna’s run into the “Big Dance” in 2002 — his first of four years as the Saints’ head coach.

    Lanier also spent time on Tony Bennett’s staff at Virginia and Billy Donovan’s staff at Florida before leaving to work for Barnes in 2011.

    Lanier succeeds Tim Jankovich who spent seven seasons as Southern Methodist’s head coach before retiring following the end of the 2022 season. Jankovich led the Mustangs to one NCAA Tournament birth in his tenure.

    SMU doesn’t have a storied history of success including just two NCAA Tournament appearances since 1994. Still, SMU’s had pockets of success in its program’s history including making the tournament three out of five years in the 80s, three straight Sweet 16 appearances in the 60s and two Elite Eights and a Final Four appearance in a three year stretch in the 50s.

    The Mustangs are a part of the American Athletic Conference with Houston and Memphis.

    Ryan Schumpert is a senior at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since the moment he stepped on campus. He just completed a three-year stint with the Daily Beacon, the last two of which as the Sports Editor. Ryan also spent last three years at Volquest providing strong Tennessee baseball coverage of Tony Vitello's resurgent program. While the bulk of Ryan's responsibilities involved beat coverage and writing, he also recorded podcasts for both the Beacon and Volquest. Did we leave out the part about Ryan interning for the Smokies? Ryan's work ethic, versatility, and strong writing skills are but three of the reasons why Vol Nation will be hearing from Ryan for years to come.