Tennessee Head Coach Rick Barnes has officially filled one of the two open vacancies on his staff with the hire of former Austin Peay assistant Rod Clark.
“We had an opportunity to be very selective in making this hire, and I couldn’t be more excited about adding Rod to our staff,” Barnes said via the release on UT sports dot com.
“We weren’t the only high-major program who wanted him, but thankfully he wanted to be at Tennessee. He fits everything we prioritize in our program culture, and I know he is going to connect with our players in a special way.”
Clark has been an assistant at the college level for just two seasons: last season he was at Austin Peay and prior to that he spent one season at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Before his time in the college ranks, according to UT sports dot com, Clark was the “top assistant,” at Sunrise Christian Academy for two seasons from 2017-2019. If that school’s name sounds familiar, it should — it’s the school Kennedy Chandler transferred to to finish out his high-school career.
Clark’s time at Sunrise was certainly a factor in his hiring at Tennessee as having an established foot hold in an emerging powerhouse high-school program is always a net positive for recruiting. Sunrise just recently lost in the final round of the GEICO high school national championship and has some NBA players on its alumni list with Sacramento Kings guard and former Oklahoma standout Buddy Hield being the most prominent.
Barnes is likely looking for Clark to become a standout recruiter and help ease the loss of Kim English and Desmond Oliver.
There’s still one more open spot left on Barnes’ staff, but I’d say it won’t be open much longer. There’s lots of work yet to be done for the staff this offseason, and the quicker Barnes makes the hire the quicker the new addition can get to work.