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Tennessee hires Rick Barnes as new head coach

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Tennessee hires Rick Barnes as new head coach

Rick Barnes is Tennessee’s new men’s basketball coach, the school announced in a statement Tuesday. “Rick Barnes is an elite basketball coach in every respect,” Tennessee vice chancellor and director of athletics Dave Hart said. “Rick brings an extremely impressive track record of excellence, as well as much-needed stability, to our men’s basketball program. This is an exciting day for our Tennessee family.”

The agreement is for six years at $2.25 million annually. The school scheduled a 4 p.m. ET news conference to introduce Barnes. The news comes just two days after Barnes, 60, resigned under pressure at Texas after 17 seasons. Barnes is the all-time winningest coach at Texas and led the Longhorns to the NCAA tournament in all but one season. Texas entered this season with Final Four aspirations. But injuries and overall inconsistent play helped to undermine the Longhorns’ chances in the Big 12.

The season ended with 11th-seeded Texas losing to sixth-seeded Butler 56-48 in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Barnes, a native of Hickory, N.C., was 402-180 at Texas. He took the Longhorns to the NCAA tournament in 16 of his 17 seasons, including a Final Four in 2003. He is 604-314 in 28 seasons overall with stops at George Mason, Providence and Clemson. Barnes struggled to reach the standard that he himself established at Texas. He reached the Final Four in 2003 — followed by Elite Eight appearances in 2006 and 2008. But the Longhorns then struggled to sign some of the best prospects from the talent-rich state of Texas, and the program began to stagnate.

Barnes replaces Donnie Tyndall, who was fired because of his involvement in NCAA violations that occurred under his watch at Southern Mississippi. Tennessee becomes the second SEC school to hire a veteran coach with Final Four experience this month. Mississippi State announced last week that it was replacing the fired Rick Ray with 57-year-old Ben Howland, who made three consecutive Final Four appearances with UCLA from 2006-08.

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