Rick Barnes explains why he considered UCLA job: 'It had nothing to do with Tennessee'
This week, Tennessee fans nervously awaited coach Rick Barnes’ decision. Would he remain with the Vols or head to Los Angeles to take the open UCLA job?
He ultimately decided to remain in Knoxville, and fans couldn’t be happier. So, that begs the question — why did he consider the job in the first place?
In an interview with ESPN’s Chris Low, Barnes revealed that he listened to UCLA’s offer because of the mystique surrounding the Bruins while he was growing up:
“It had nothing to do with Tennessee,” Barnes said. “I’ve been here for four years and could never, ever say enough about the way this university, this state and the (way) Vol Nation has treated me. It was simply the lure of UCLA basketball. I remember all those great teams and great players going back to Lucius Allen, Tommy Curtis, Lew Alcindor and Bill Walton, and I had a chance to spend quality time with Coach Wooden in his later years when I was able to go by and meet with him at his condo and go to lunch with him.
“So the way I look at UCLA basketball might be different than some people look at it now. But, still, in my mind, the UCLA basketball job was something I thought I had to look at.”
UCLA has been a bit of a mess lately, and they ended up hiring Cincinnati’s Mick Cronin after Barnes passed.
Now, Barnes will try to build the Vols into an even better team than it has been these last two years.