Rick Barnes Snubs UCLA in Favor of Staying With Tennessee

Rick Barnes. Photo by Tim Gangloff/CSM/REX/Shutterstock

UCLA continues to struggle in their pursuit for the new head coach of their men’s basketball program. After missing out on John Calipari, who opted to sign a lifetime deal with Kentucky, the school has been now snubbed by Tennessee’s Rick Barnes as well.

UCLA has been heavily pursuing Barnes as a replacement for Steve Alford and has reportedly offered him a deal last week which was worth $5 million a year plus incentives and bonuses. After hearing about UCLA’s offer, Tennessee countered with a contract extension that would grant the 65-year-old the similar terms if he was to stay at the helm of the Volunteers.

After considering both offers, Barnes, who won Naismith Coach of the Year award in 2019, decided to snub UCLA in favor of staying with his current team. This was confirmed by Tennessee’s director of athletics Phillip Fulmer.

“The last few days have been interesting, to say the least,” –said Fulmer in a statement. “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 University of Tennessee and East Tennessee as a whole have developed an enhanced love and appreciation for our men’s basketball program and its culture under Rick’s leadership, and I’m thrilled that he will remain a part of our Tennessee Athletics family.” – he added.

Rick Barnes was named Tennessee Volunteers’ head coach in 2015 and managed to increase the team’s win total in each of his four seasons with the program. He finished the 2018/19 season with 31-6 record and lead the Volunteers to NCAA Division I Sweet 16 where they suffered 99-94 loss to Purdue.

Before coming to Tennessee, Barnes coached at George Mason, Providence, Clemson, and Texas.