Men's Basketball Sweet Sixteen vs. Purdue

Head coach, Rick Barnes, during the Sweet Sixteen game against Purdue University on Thursday March 28, 2019 at the KFC Yum! Center. 

Tennessee men’s basketball head coach Rick Barnes won the Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year award on Sunday.

Following the award was an offer to become the UCLA head coach, but Barnes announced his decision to remain at Tennessee on Monday evening, according to ESPN’s Chris Low.

Tennessee athletic director Phillip Fulmer confirmed the report in a statement.

"I'm grateful to Rick and Candy, and I'm also grateful to our university leadership, which stepped up to show Rick how much he is valued and appreciated," Fulmer said. "Our commitment to basketball has never been stronger, and we're all excited for the future as we move forward."

Evan Daniels of 247Sports first reported that Barnes was a candidate for the UCLA job on Sunday night.

Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times confirmed the report, calling Barnes “the frontrunner” for the position in a tweet. He said that Barnes “would definitely accept” the job if it was offered.

"The last few days have been interesting to say the least," Fulmer said. "One of the nation's most tradition-rich college basketball programs identified what we here at Tennessee already knew--that Rick Barnes is one of the game's elite coaches and a program-changer.

"His incredible work here at Tennessee over the past four years illustrates that. Additionally, the impact that he and his wife, Candy, have made throughout this community has been immensely inspiring as well."

Bolch also reported that Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger was a top candidate for the UCLA job, but Kruger said he would finish his career at Oklahoma and that he did not make contact with the Bruins.

On Monday morning, several sources reported that Barnes met with Fulmer to discuss a counteroffer. ESPN’s Chris Low reported that UCLA offered Barnes a five-year deal worth $5 million per year, not including bonuses and incentives.

"The University of Tennessee and East Tennessee as a whole have developed an enhanced love and appreciation for our men's basketball program and its culture under Rick's leadership, and I'm thrilled that he will remain a part of our Tennessee Athletics family," Fulmer said.

Low said Fulmer and Barnes also conversed with Randy Boyd, who is the interim president at the University of Tennessee. Barnes reportedly cited interest in restoring UCLA and finishing his career at a historical basketball program.

The same source told ESPN that Barnes “loves living in East Tennessee and loves the people in Tennessee.”

Last season, Barnes made $3.25 million after negotiating a contract extension. His current deal runs through the 2023-24 season and has a $5 million buyout attached to it.

Barnes has coached Tennessee since the 2015-16 season, leading the Vols to an appearance in the SEC Championship game and the Sweet 16 this season. Tennessee earned a share of the SEC regular-season title last year under Barnes.

Prior to that, Barnes coached at Texas from 1998-2015, leading the Longhorns to the NCAA Tournament in 16 of his 17 years at the helm.

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