KNOXVILLE — The Tennessee basketball program won its first SEC Tournament championship since 1979 just two weeks ago, and now Vols athletic director Danny White has given Rick Barnes a contract extension through the 2026-2027 season.
White released a statement, praising Barnes for the way he runs his program and the excitement level he has brought to Knoxville lately.
“Rick has built an incredible culture within our men’s basketball program that has spread throughout Vol Nation. I’ve had a blast watching the best fanbase in the country embrace this team and create the most electric environment in college basketball. Coach Barnes’ leadership is steady, and his players exude high character. They take pride in representing our university and the state of Tennessee with class and an unrivaled competitive drive.
“Having played and coached the game, basketball has a special place in my heart,” White added. “To that end, I can’t overstate how fortunate we are to have Rick Barnes leading our program. I am unbelievably excited about our bright future as we chase future championships on the hardwood.”
The Vols have recorded 26 wins or more six times in history, three of which happened under Rick Barnes. This year was one of those times. They finished 2021-2022 with 27 wins and ranked 5th in the AP postseason top 25 entering the NCAA Tournament. Nobody is pleased about the way this season ended in Indianapolis, but Barnes said that he is ready to get back to work and prepare for next season.
“After meeting with our players this week, I’m energized and eager to get back in the gym preparing for next season. Our family is blessed to be a part of the University of Tennessee family, and we appreciate the alignment of our administration. There are so many wonderful things happening on campus and throughout the community that we’re excited to support and participate in. It’s a great time to be a Tennessee Volunteer.”
Tennessee’s roster is likely to undergo some changes over the next few weeks, but this team will return a talented group that should contend for the SEC next season.