Tennessee extends Barnes through 2026-27

On the heels of the Tennessee men’s basketball team’s 27-win campaign, highlighted by an SEC Tournament championship, Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics Danny White on Thursday announced that he has extended Rick Barnes‘ contract through the 2026-27 season.

Barnes has now led the Volunteers to four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. This year’s SEC Tournament title was just the fifth in program history—and the first since 1979.

“Rick has built an incredible culture within our men’s basketball program that has spread throughout Vol Nation,” White said. “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. 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.”

In program history, Tennessee has six seasons of 26 or more wins, and Barnes has been the Vols’ head coach for three of those six campaigns (2017-18, 2018-19, 2021-22).

“After meeting with our players this week, I’m energized and eager to get back in the gym preparing for next season,” Barnes said. “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.”

For the second time in Barnes’ seven-year tenure, the Vols (27-8) spent the entire season ranked in the AP Top 25—ascending as high as No. 5 in the postseason poll.

Also for the second time during the Barnes era, Tennessee never lost back-to-back games all season.

Tennessee tied a single-season school record this year by defeating four opponents ranked in the top 10 (tying the 1976-77 SEC Championship team). The Vols now are the only program in the SEC to have finished with single-digit losses in four of the last five seasons.

Each of Barnes’ last two recruiting classes have been rated consensus top-five nationally, and five Vols have been selected in the NBA Draft since 2019.

With 754 career victories—including 150 in seven seasons at Tennessee—Barnes ranks seventh nationally among active head coaches in career Division I wins. Under his direction, the Vols have spent 73 weeks in the AP Top 25 and have defeated multiple “blue blood” programs, including Kentucky (10 times), Kansas, Gonzaga, Purdue, North Carolina and Arizona.

With Barnes on the bench, fan support at Thompson-Boling Arena has continued to rank among the most fervent in the country, with Tennessee finishing in the top five nationally for average home attendance for the each of the last three non-COVID-impacted seasons. The Vols will enter next season riding a 17-game home winning streak that dates to February of 2021.


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