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Tennessee signs Rick Barnes to contract extension

NCAA Basketball: SEC Conference Tournament Championship-Texas A&M vs Tennessee Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Following another big season, Danny White has locked up Tennessee head basketball coach Rick Barnes through the 2026-27 season. Barnes had previously been working on a deal that carried through the 2025-26 season.

Tennessee exited the NCAA Tournament in the round of 32 last weekend, but they were able to capture the SEC Tournament crown for the first time since the 1979 season.

The Volunteers finished Barnes’ seventh season in Knoxville with a 27-8 mark, bringing his overall record to 150-81. Barnes has a 75-50 mark in SEC play.

“Rick has built an incredible culture within our men’s basketball program that has spread throughout Vol Nation,” Tennessee AD Danny White said. “I’ve had a blast watching the best fanbase in the country embrace this team and create the most electric environment in college basketball. Coach Barnes’ leadership is steady, and his players exude high character. They take pride in representing our university and the state of Tennessee with class and an unrivaled competitive drive.

“Having played and coached the game, basketball has a special place in my heart. To that end, I can’t overstate how fortunate we are to have Rick Barnes leading our program. I am unbelievably excited about our bright future as we chase future championships on the hardwood.”

Barnes stabilized Tennessee at a time where they needed it, coming off of one season under Donnie Tyndall. After being let go by Texas, Barnes took over a rebuild and found success late in his career. The Volunteers have been one of the SEC’s best programs ever since.

Heading into next season, Barnes will be 68 years old. However, retirement isn’t on his mind.

“After meeting with our players this week, I’m energized and eager to get back in the gym preparing for next season,” Barnes said. “Our family is blessed to be a part of the University of Tennessee family, and we appreciate the alignment of our administration. There are so many wonderful things happening on campus and throughout the community that we’re excited to support and participate in. It’s a great time to be a Tennessee Volunteer.”