Texas - Texas basketball coach Rick Barnes will be
released after yet another quick exit from the
postseason, people with knowledge of the decision told
The Associated Press on Saturday.
decision came after Texas athletic director Steve
Patterson and Barnes met Saturday, according to the
people who requested anonymity because the school
wasn't expected to make a formal announcement before
60-year-old Barnes shaped Texas into a national
basketball power with three Big 12 championships and
16 NCAA Tournament appearances in 17 years. He had
four years left on his contract at $2.65 million per
year and will receive a severance of $1.75 million
under his contract because he is being released before
didn't immediately respond to text and telephone
messages seeking comment.
built a program with NBA-level talent that reached the
Final Four in 2003 and produced two national players
of the year in T.J. Ford (2003) and Kevin Durant
(2007). Barnes also led Texas within one game of the
Final Four in 2005 and 2008.
while the program continued to win, and even reached
its first No. 1 ranking in the 2009-2010 season, the
Longhorns have struggled in the postseason in recent
years despite rosters full of future NBA players.
hasn't advanced past the first weekend of the NCAA
Tournament since 2008. The latest defeat was this
season's opening-round loss to Butler. Texas had much
higher hopes when the Longhorns began the season
ranked in the Top 10, only to limp through a ragged
season and barely scrape their way into the
17-year tenure was the longest in the Big 12. He's
604-314 in 28 seasons overall and won 402 games at
was mostly a basketball afterthought when it hired
Barnes from Clemson in 1997. He dumped Tom Penders'
free-wheeling offense with a tough, defense-first
mentality that immediately produced Texas' first Big
12 regular-season title in 1999.
while Barnes brought a new game plan to the court, it
was his ability to land some of the biggest recruits
in the country that paid the biggest dividends. Barnes
recruited a litany of top talent to a "football
school," none bigger than Ford and Durant.
zenith was the 2003 Final Four where the Longhorns
lost to eventual national champion Syracuse and
program was still humming when Durant won national
player of the year honors as a freshman in 2007. Even
after he left, Texas won a share of its third Big 12
title under Barnes and was regularly among the top
programs in the country. By midway through the
2009-2010 season, a 17-0 start earned the Longhorns
the program's first No. 1 ranking.
that season ended in disappointment as the Longhorns
limped to a 24-10 finish and a first-round loss in the
NCAA Tournament. That started a period of stagnation
for a program that had become used to success, and
while Barnes' teams were good, many saw them as
failing to live up to high expectations.
only losing season came in 2012-2013, but he turned
that around with a surprising 24-11 finish the next
season. That rebound, and the return of every starter
with highly-touted recruit Myles Turner, landed Texas
in the Top 10 to start this season.
reached as high as No. 6 before Christmas, but had a
much rougher time in once Big 12 play began, finishing
8-10 in the conference.
and Patterson met three times this week about the job
and the future of the program.
firing Barnes, Patterson now must make another
high-profile hire barely more than a year on the job.
Texas pushed out football coach Mack Brown in December
2014, barely a month after Patterson was hired to
replace longtime athletic director DeLoss Dodds.
will have an attractive program to sell.
is the wealthiest athletic program in the country and
will soon build a new basketball arena to replace the
nearly 40-year-old Frank Erwin Center. And any new
coach will land in the middle of a state rich in high
school basketball talent.