Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
By ADAM ZAGORIAMINNEAPOLIS — Tennessee coach Rick Barnes is now in play to become the next head coach at UCLA, according to a report from 247Sports.com.
Since firing Steve Alford back on New Year’s Eve, UCLA’s coaching search has stumbled mightily as the school has targeted big names like Virginia’s Tony Bennett, who will coach Monday in the NCAA championship game against Texas Tech, and John Calipari, who turned down UCLA and signed a lifetime contract with Kentucky.
TCU’s Jamie Dixon was targeted but his $8 million buyout proved to be a prohibitive obstacle.
Meantime, Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger issued the following statement about his reported involvement.
“I have not interviewed for the job at UCLA, nor have I had any contact with anyone from UCLA,” Kruger said.
Barnes, 64, earns $3.25 million at Tennessee after signing an extension last year, according to 247.
Barnes on Sunday was named the 2019 Naismith Coach of the Year after leading the Volunteers to a 31-6 record and a spot in the Sweet 16. Tennessee was ranked No. 1 for four weeks.
“To say the least, I’m honored. I’m humbled really,” Barnes said in a statement. “When you’re able to receive an award like the Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year, you know it goes to your players and your assistant coaches.”
Photo: USA Today Sports
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.