There is never — and let me emphasize the NEVER — a dull moment inside the University of Tennessee athletics department.
Late on Sunday as we all prepped for a week full of Orange and White game preparations, news broke that UCLA was coming after Rick Barnes. The 64 year old head coach has revitalized Tennessee basketball, earning a No. 2 and No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament over the past two years.
Could he now be on the way out? We’ll keep you posted below.
THE TIMELINE (Latest update will appear first)
Update: 10 pm Monday
Update: 7:30 pm Monday
Seth Davis reports that UCLA thought the deal was done last night. Tennessee then offered Barnes more money, as others have stated today.
Per knowledgeable source: Last night UCLA thought it had all but landed Rick Barnes. Was hoping for a Tuesday press conference. Tennessee came back to Barnes with more money so UCLA is waiting on his decision. If it falls through it’s back to Mick Cronin.— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) April 8, 2019
Update: 7 pm Monday
The buyout — as it was with Jamie Dixon at TCU — is reportedly an issue for UCLA. Barnes’ buyout is 5 million.
On Barnes & UCLA two sources tell me the buyout is a real issue that probably needs to be worked out quickly if the deal is to happen between the two parties. Never a dull moment in Rocky Top. #Vols— Tony Basilio (@TonyBasilio) April 8, 2019
Update: 3 pm Monday
Chris Low of ESPN reports that UCLA has offered Barnes 5 million per year.
UCLA has offered Rick Barnes $5 million a year, and Tennessee has also come to the table with a new deal, sources tell ESPN. Barnes is wrestling with the decision. He loves living in Tennessee, but the chance to restore UCLA to its past glory is enticing. https://t.co/hYaGcVEubA— Chris Low (@ClowESPN) April 8, 2019
Update: 1 pm Monday
Tennessee has reportedly made an offer to keep Barnes. It’s now decision time.
Update: 12:45 pm Monday
John Feinstein echoes what everyone else has reported.
.@JFeinsteinBooks: "It did come out of the blue. It is very real, and there is mutual interest. Rick has been offered the job, I think he will make a decision today. Honestly, I am not sure which way it is going to go."— The Midday 180 (@Midday180) April 8, 2019
Update: Noon Monday
Jimmy Hyams expects a decision soon.
Don't be surprised if announcement is made about Rick Barnes' status within an hour. Source told me Barnes first spoke to UCLA on Thursday while Phillip Fulmer was in Tampa Bay at women's Final Four, interviewing candidates.— Jimmy Hyams (@JimmyHyams) April 8, 2019
Biven reports that Tennessee is working hard to keep Barnes in place.
The University of Tennessee is working hard to keep Coach Barnes.— Russell Biven (@WBIRrussell) April 8, 2019
They are about to run a full court press. Stay with @wbir
Update: 10 am Monday
Last night, Tony Basilio reported that Barnes felt “unappreciated” after only one Tennessee staffer joined Barnes at the Final Foul for his Coach of the Year award. Today, Mike Wilson echoed that line of thinking.
One more thing to keep in mind here — the loss of key assistant Rob Lanier. Could Barnes be angling for a bigger budget to hire new assistants?
Update: 8 am Monday
WBIR reports that UCLA made Barnes a multi-year offer over the weekend.
Russell Biven says Barnes’ decision won’t come down to money. He also drops an interesting note regarding Barnes and Arkansas.
Coach Barnes decision will not be based on a dollar amount. We will know within 24 hours.— Russell Biven (@WBIRrussell) April 8, 2019
I have learned that Arkansas wanted Coach Barnes. Money was not an issue. Coach Barnes told them he would not do that to Tennessee. Barnes unwilling to listen to teams within the conference— Russell Biven (@WBIRrussell) April 8, 2019
Update: 10 pm Sunday
Others confirming what Daniels reported earlier.
I have been told that Rick Barnes would definitely accept the UCLA job if formally offered it.— Ben Bolch (@latbbolch) April 8, 2019
Source on Rick Barnes to UCLA: “Don’t be surprised if it happens. I think it’s real - on both sides.”— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) April 8, 2019
Evan Daniels was the first to break the news. Our initial reaction is here.