Tennessee Head Coach Rick Barnes now reportedly has two spots to fill on his staff as Desmond Oliver is expected to be announced as ETSU’s new head coach in the next few days.
Oliver would be the second assistant on Barnes’ staff to take a head coaching job elsewhere since the season ended. He would join Kim English, who was named George Mason’s coach on March 23rd. Oliver has been with the Vols for six seasons dating back to 2015 and was the lone remaining coach from Rick Barnes’ initial staff at Tennessee.
In a delicious bit of coincidence, Oliver is replacing Jason Shay, who was an assistant at Tennessee for six seasons under Bruce Pearl.
Barnes is now in the unenviable position of having to make two hires to get his staff back up to its full complement in what could turn out to be a pivotal offseason.
After his team sputtered through the last couple months of the season straight into a first-round loss to Oregon State in the NCAA Tournament, there’s some existential pressure on Barnes building, and the coaching staff won’t be the only thing getting a makeover this summer.
Barnes is looking to add several pieces to the roster this offseason since there’s a possibility that as many as six-to-seven players from last year’s team won’t be around next season. That work has already begun with Justin Powell, who will transfer in from Auburn.
Barnes has started the process of interviewing assistant coaches, as he continues his busy offseason.