Filed by Gentry Estes
KNOXVILLE — Former Ole Miss head men’s basketball coach Rod Barnes has emerged as a lead candidate for the vacancy on Tennessee’s coaching staff, according to sources close to the program.
A deal could be in place by the end of the week.
Barnes attended an AAU tournament in Texas this past weekend with Pearl, who has said the new hire will retain Edgar’s No. 2 spot behind associate head coach Tony Jones.
Ole Miss recently fired Barnes less than one year after awarding him a four-year contract extension. He was a finalist two weeks ago for the head coaching job at Southeast Missouri State accepted by Scott Edgar, whose departure created the opening on Bruce Pearl’s staff at Tennessee.
A former Ole Miss player, Barnes led his alma mater to a 141-109 record in eight seasons. Barnes’ teams were noted for hard-nosed defense and low scores, which would make an interesting mix with Pearl, whose up-tempo Volunteers led the SEC in scoring offense last season.
The Rebels finished 14-16 last season, dropping 13 of their final 14 games, and were last in the Southeastern Conference in points per game and average scoring margin.
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