Rick Barnes signs contract extension

Tennessee has signed its SEC Coach of the Year, Rick Barnes, to a contract extension.

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 09, 2017 - Guard Robert Hubbs III #3 of the Tennessee Volunteers and Tennessee Volunteers Head Coach Rick Barnes during the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament game between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Tennessee Volunteers at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN. Photo By Craig Bisacre/Tennessee Athletics

It looks like Rick Barnes will be staying in Knoxville for at least a few more years, as Tennessee athletic director Phillip Fulmer announced Thursday that the university has extended Barnes’s contract through the 2023-2024 season.

Barnes’s new contract is worth $21 million for six years, making him the second-highest paid coach in the SEC (behind John Calipari), as well as the 10th-highest paid coach in the country.

Given the Vols’ recent success on the hardwood, including an SEC regular-season championship last year and a berth in the SEC Basketball Tournament championship, Barnes’s contract has been hard-earned.

”Rick [Barnes] has done an exceptional job of reestablishing our men’s basketball program into a championship-level program,” Fulmer said in a press release.

“Our run to an SEC championship last season energized the entire Tennessee fan base in a very special way, and I believe that energy and excitement will continue to flourish with Rick leading our program forward.”

“Tennessee is a very special place, and I believe this program is capable of accomplishing very special things,” Barnes added.

In his three seasons in Knoxville, Barnes has notched a 57-44 record, and was voted SEC Coach of the Year in 2018. Before that, he had stops at George Mason, Providence, Clemson and Texas, where Barnes coached NBA All-Star Kevin Durant.

Tennessee’s basketball program appears ready to take another step in the right direction this season, as the Vols will be led once more by All-SEC players Admiral Schofield and Grant Williams.

Tennessee kicks off its season with a non-conference tilt against Tusculum on Halloween night, Oct. 31, 2018. Tip-off is slated for 7:00 p.m. at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Featured image by Craig Bisacre, courtesy of Tennessee Athletics

Edited by Robert Hughes