KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — New Tennessee athletics director John Currie didn’t waste any time giving men’s basketball coach Rick Barnes a vote of confidence.
There aren’t many programs where a Power 5 coach who has missed playing in the postseason two straight years would get such a strong endorsement from a brand-new athletic director intent on improving athletics.
Barnes had a long track record for success at Texas before coming to Tennessee, and he is one of the most well-liked coaches by the media.
The Vols have continued to post attendance numbers in the Top 25 of the country, too, even with the program going 15-19 and 16-16 the past two seasons and falling short of the NIT and NCAA tournaments.
Currie’s comments and speech to the men’s basketball team were released on a video that was tweeted out on the program’s social media account on Tuesday.
“There’s no better coach to coach this program and lead this university in men’s basketball than Rick Barnes,” Currie told the men’s basketball team in the video.
“I felt it was an incredibly providential moment for the University of Tennessee to have that kind of opportunity to get a coach of Coach Barnes, character and values and competitive and coaching values.
“He’s the perfect fit for the University of Tennessee.”
Good talk today with our new leader @John_Currie
Let’s get to work ?? pic.twitter.com/jwQrnRg39t
— Tennessee Basketball (@Vol_Hoops) April 5, 2017