Report: Rick Barnes is ‘serious candidate’ for UCLA job
A surprising name has emerged in UCLA’s search for a new head basketball coach.
According to Evan Daniels of 247 Sports, Tennessee coach Rick Barnes is considered a “serious candidate” for the job that has been vacant since Steve Alford’s firing on Dec. 31.
Barnes just completed his fourth year at Tennessee, where he has built the Volunteers into a formidable program fresh off a 31-win season. Throughout his career, Barnes has been plagued by criticism of his perceived NCAA Tournament underachievement. That criticism arose again in 2019, as the Volunteers fell to third-seeded Purdue in the Sweet 16.
Barnes has a $5 million buyout after signing a new contract last year that makes him the second-highest paid coach in the SEC. It would be a somewhat surprising move for him to make in light of that, especially at 64 years old and fresh off making Tennessee a leading program.
UCLA’s search has been a long and winding road, and another leading candidate may be out on account of his buyout. Barnes’ buyout is lower, but not by that much.