Rick Barnes is out as head coach at Texas, sources confirmed to NBCSports.com. Yesterday, we reported that Barnes was not expected to return to coach in 2015-16, and according to a report from ESPN.com, Barnes was alerted by athletic director Steve Patterson that his tenure is now over.
We also reported yesterday that Barnes will be in the mix for the opening at Tennessee. He disappointed in recent seasons at the school, but he also took them to a Final Four, made the tournament 16 of his 17 seasons in Austin and routinely landed elite NBA-caliber talent. He’s not a bad coach.
And now the coaching carousel will kick into overdrive, because Texas is, at worst, one of the top ten jobs in the country.
The state is full of terrific basketball players — to name a few: Emmanuel Mudiay, Myles Turner, Justise Winslow, Justin Jackson, Kelly Oubre, Julius Randle, the Harrison twins — and the 2016 and 2017 classes are loaded with talent as well. Then throw in the amount of money the Texas athletic department has, the fact that the athletic director is reportedly planning on building a new basketball arena and the lack of pressure from a fan base that cares about football first, second and third, and there’s a reason that some of the biggest names in coaching will listen if Texas calls.
Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall and VCU’s Shaka Smart are the two names that pop up every time a good job opens up, the only difference here being that industry sources believe both Marshall and Smart would actually take the job. Virginia Tech’s Buzz Williams would be another good fit at Texas, although he just finished his first season in Blacksburg. Dayton head coach Archie Miller has had his name pop up as well.