Barnes has coached Tennessee since the 2015-16 season, leading the Vols to an appearance in the SEC Championship game and the Sweet 16 this season.
"The last few days have been interesting to say the least".
Barnes signed a contract extension in September at Tennessee running through the 2024 season that paid him $3.25 million this season and was scheduled to increase by $100,000 each year of the deal until reaching $3.75 million in 2024. If he does depart, Tennessee Athletic Director Phillip Fulmer will have to fill both the men's and women's basketball coaching jobs after the firing last month of Holly Warlick, who struggled to continue the success of the legendary Pat Summitt. The 64-year-old is very happy in Tennessee, but the chance to finish his career at UCLA with the chance to restore the program to prominence is very tempting to him. "Our commitment to basketball has never been stronger, and we're all excited for the future as we move forward". After his interview, it was reported that the Volunteer's coach would agree to be the next UCLA basketball coach if offered the job. Additionally, the impact that he and his wife, Candy, have made throughout this community has been immensely inspiring as well.
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Why would Barnes want to leave a program that was No. 1 in the country for several weeks this year and a program he's got on the right track for a program that hasn't had much in the way of success of late?
Barnes has been a head coach since 1987, making stops at George Mason, Providence, Clemson, Texas, and Tennessee.
The same source told ESPN that Barnes "loves living in East Tennessee and loves the people in Tennessee".
UCLA also had interest in Texas Christian's Jamie Dixon, but the school elected to pursue other options last week after reportedly electing to not pay the $8 million buyout of his contract.