Recently, Tennessee managed to keep Rick Barnes in Knoxville after UCLA tried to hire him as their new basketball coach.
This week, a report by The Athletic’s Seth Davis mentioned that Barnes was the one to reach out to the Bruins about the job, but Barnes wanted to make it clear that wasn’t the case.
Per Tennessee insider Jimmy Hyams, Barnes called that report “an absolute lie,” insisting that someone representing UCLA was the first to contact him about the opening:
Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said a report that he reached out first to UCLA on a Tuesday before the Final Four is an “absolute lie.'' Barnes said he was contacted indirectly by someone representing UCLA April 2, then told AD Phillip Fulmer on Friday when UCLA contacted Barnes.
— Jimmy Hyams (@JimmyHyams) April 23, 2019
Either way, Barnes decided to turn down UCLA and remain in Knoxville, and Tennessee fans are generally happy he’s staying put.
Now, we’ll see if he can continue to keep the Vols relevant on a national scale moving forward.