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