Back in 2015 when Tennessee administrators found themselves looking for a new basketball coach for the third time in four years, they sought someone who could bring a level of consistency to the program. Rick Barnes was hired to do what he had always done: build a college basketball program from the ground up. Barnes had developed a reputation as a supreme builder, having led four different programs to 20-win seasons. With two of his predecessors forced out amid NCAA violations, Barnes arrived in Knoxville ready to roll up his sleeves and get to work. The article linked below is a terrific profile of a coach who has gone through an evolution of sorts thirty-something years in. For those who do not have access to The Athletic, I’ve included my notes on the article below.
Duly chastised and somewhat alarmed, Barnes rededicated himself to his religion, changed his coaching approach and set about atoning for his mistakes. “I called up some of my former players and apologized for not coaching them the right way,’’ he says. Dickey Simpkins received one of those calls. Part of a gloried recruiting class at Providence, Simpkins was a four-year starter and a first-round draft pick who helped raise his coach’s profile on the big stage, leading the Friars’ turnaround via a Big East Tournament title and an NCAA Tournament berth in 1994. Upon graduating, Simpkins promptly stopped speaking to his coach for 13 years.
-He prefers not to offer specifics but says he believed Barnes’ drive to make a name for himself trumped his need to treat his players fairly.
For more on Barnes:
-Vols can ‘feel the excitement,’ but focused on ‘the process (LINK)
-UT: Double Drag DHO (LINK)
-Inside Rick Barnes’ attempt to rev up the Volunteers (LINK)
-‘Leave this place better than you found it’ (LINK)