Rick Barnes has opened up at his role in UCLA’s ridiculous coaching search and has been impressively candid about what went down. Tennessee’s head basketball coach claims if the Bruins had just paid his $5 million buyout, he’d likely be their coach right now.
On Tuesday, Barnes was asked what would have happened if UCLA paid that buyout. Here’s his response:
“I think I would’ve been the coach at UCLA. I’ve said that to people before. I really felt at that time that’s what would happen.
“A lot of praying went into it, I can tell you that.There was a lot going on. When you get down to a situation like that, it has to make sense from a financial standpoint. Bottom line is we couldn’t work it out with the buyout.”
That’s one of the most transparent looks into a coaching search we’ve ever had. Barnes pulled no punches and was completely honest.
Instead, UCLA refused to pay that buyout, as they had for previous candidate Jamie Dixon. Instead, Barnes opted to return to Tennessee and agreed to a new deal that will pay him $4 million annually before increasing to $6 million.
UCLA ultimately wound up hiring Cincinnati’s Mick Cronin after one of the most absurd coaching searches in recent memory. But they could have had Barnes if they would have just paid his buyout.