The Texas Longhorns just fired longtime coach Rick Barnes, but rumors indicate that the program is wasting no time making a splash with its next hire.
Longhorns athletic director Steve Patterson told Barnes he wouldn’t be back for an 18th season after the team lost in the NCAA Tournament’s opening round to Butler. This week, an emotional Barnes said he would miss his players and the Longhorns program.
“The wins and losses are fleeting, but it’s the relationships that matter,” Barnes said at a 40-minute farewell news conference. “We know as a coach, this whole thing is about players. We’ve been blessed as a staff here to have so many players who have affected our lives.”
The Dallas News reported that Texas is looking to hire a replacement quickly, and is looking at a pair of up-and-coming coaches to fill the position.
“The search is immediately expected to focus on two mid-major coaches who have taken their schools to recent Final Fours, Gregg Marshall at Wichita State and Shaka Smart at Virginia Commonwealth. Each have passed on power conference jobs in the past – especially Smart – but nothing quite as big or enticing as Texas.
“Yahoo! reported that Marshall had already informed Alabama he was not interested in its opening because he was focused on Texas.”
But the Texas Longhorns are rumored to be looking in a different direction as well. Sources told ESPN that Patterson may look for a coach with NBA ties, possibly someone he was connected to during his time as an executive with the Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers.
Whoever takes over for Rick Barnes will have some big shoes to fill. In his 17 seasons with the team, Barnes led the Longhorns to the NCAA Tournament 16 times and won three Big 12 titles. He also took the team to the Final Four in 2003, its first trip there in more than 50 years.
There is a handful of other coaches rumored to be in consideration for the Texas Longhorns coaching job, including Dayton’s Archie Miller and Xavier’s Chris Mack. Whatever choice is made, it could come very soon. Sources close to the program said that the Longhorns want to make a decision sometime early this week.
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