Success creates opportunities, and the Tennessee basketball program is no stranger to that. According to one report on Monday, it’s happening again this year. Michael Schwartz, Tennessee’s defensive specialist, has agreed to take the East Carolina job.
Stephen Igoe of 247Sports broke the news.
SOURCES: Tennessee associate head coach Michael Schwartz has agreed to be the next head basketball coach at East Carolina, pending board of trustees approval on Wednesday.— Stephen Igoe (@StephenIgoe) March 14, 2022
Jon Gilbert is the obvious Tennessee connection here. The now ECU athletics director was at Tennessee as an Associate AD when Barnes was hired in 2015. Gilbert oversaw the basketball program during that time — now he hires his right hand man at East Carolina.
Schwartz is credited with Tennessee’s defensive blueprint, which has been the core of the program for several years. The Volunteers currently rank third in defensive efficiency, per KenPom, which has powered their hot finish and SEC Tournament title this year.
Rick Barnes gave Schwartz his start as a graduate-assistant at Texas back in 1999. He rejoined Barnes back in 2016 in Knoxville, and has been there ever since. Schwartz was elevated to the title of associate head coach in 2019.
Schwartz would be the fourth assistant to land a head coaching job off of Barnes’ tree in Knoxville. Rob Lanier took the Georgia State job three years ago, leading the Panthers to an NCAA Tournament bid this season. Kim English landed the George Mason job, while Desmond Oliver grabbed the ETSU job last season.
Justin Gainey and Rod Clark were hired as replacements, and it appears that Barnes will have a chance to hire another this offseason.