Rick Barnes, Tennessee Agree to 3-Year Contract Extension

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistSeptember 7, 2018

Tennessee coach Rick Barnes watches play against Loyola-Chicago in the final seconds of the second half of a second-round game at the NCAA men's college basketball tournament in Dallas, Saturday, March 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

Head coach Rick Barnes led the Tennessee Volunteers men's basketball team to an SEC regular-season crown and NCAA tournament appearance last season and was rewarded accordingly Thursday.

According to the Associated Press (h/t Sports Illustrated), athletic director Phillip Fulmer announced Barnes received a contract extension through the 2023-24 campaign. The three-year extension brings his average annual salary up from $2.25 million to $3.5 million.

Barnes has been a head coach since the 1987-88 season at a number of schools. He has been on the sidelines for George Mason, Providence, Clemson, Texas and Tennessee and holds a 661-358 overall record.

Tennessee hired him prior to the 2015-16 campaign after he parted ways with the Longhorns, and he has demonstrated consistent improvement every year. The Volunteers were 15-19 in his first season, improved to 16-16 in his second and then exploded with a 26-9 mark and tied Auburn for the SEC's regular-season crown in 2017-18.

The Volunteers are poised to continue their ascension in 2018-19, and Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com ranked them No. 4 in his early Top 25 and pointed to the return of a number of players, including reigning SEC Player of the Year Grant Williams.

Barnes also has the No. 25 recruiting class for the 2019 cycle on 247Sports and looks to have the program heading in the right direction.

He now has three more years to work with following this extension.

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