Barnes, who was named the 2019 Naismith Coach of the Year on Sunday, signed a contract extension in September with Tennessee that runs through the 2023-24 season and paid him $3.25 million this season. One of the things Barnes has always put a premium on is his assistants and staff being taken care of financially and providing as much security for them as possible, which was paramount in his talks with UCLA and ultimately his decision to stay at Tennessee. He said that Barnes "would definitely accept" the job if it was offered.
Barnes has a 692-364 record in 32 seasons, taking Texas to the Final Four in 2003 and making two other appearances in a regional final during his 17 seasons with the Longhorns.
"The last few days have been interesting to say the least".
Reports emerged earlier Sunday that Oklahoma's Lon Kruger had interviewed with UCLA, but Kruger released a statement on Sunday night denying any connection to the Bruins. One of the nation's most tradition-rich college basketball programs identified what we here at Tennessee already knew-that Rick Barnes is one the game's elite coaches and a program-changer. The 64-year-old is very happy in Tennessee, but the chance to finish his career at UCLA with the chance to restore the program to prominence is very tempting to him.
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Rick Barnes, the latest candidate to fill the seat where John Wooden once roamed, has turned down the Bruins to remain with Tennessee.
So now UCLA is moving into the next phase of their search with Barnes as the apparent favorite.
Barnes has been a head coach since 1987, making stops at George Mason, Providence, Clemson, Texas, and Tennessee.
If Barnes were to leave Tennessee he would owe the school a $5 million buyout.