Rick Barnes is not expected to return as head coach of the Texas men’s basketball team, multiple sources told NBCSports.com.
Barnes met with athletic director Steve Patterson, who told him that he needs to replace his coaching staff or risk being let go, sources confirmed to NBCSports.com. Barnes is not expected to meet those demands.
All three members of Barnes’ coaching staff have been a part of the program for a long time. Russell Springman has been with the team since 2001. Rob Lanier coached with Barnes from 1999-2001, and then came back to Texas in 2011. Chris Ogden played for Barnes before joining the Texas staff in 2008.
247Sports.com was the first to report that Barnes is seriously considering stepping down.
The Austin American-Statesman reported on Thursday night that Patterson and Barnes have met face-to-face twice since the Longhorns were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament.
Barnes is the winningest head coach in Texas basketball history, having led the team to the Final Four in 2003 while churning out NBA stars like Kevin Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge and T.J. Ford. But in recent seasons, prior to signing Myles Turner, Barnes has struggled to reel in the elite talent coming out of the state of Texas. The Longhorns surprisingly made the NCAA Tournament in 2014 — a run that earned Barnes a contract extension. But this season, Barnes led a preseason top-ten team into a No. 11 seed and an opening round tournament exit.
One potential landing spot for Barnes is Tennessee, sources said, with one source adding the job is “absolutely” his if he wants it. Barnes’ wife, Candy, is a Tennessee alum.
The list for replacements, should Barnes opt to leave, will be long, as Texas is one of the top ten coaching jobs in the country. Gregg Marshall, Shaka Smart and Buzz Williams are among the names that will likely be involved.