• Update: Tennessee officially hires Rick Barnes

    Update: The University of Tennessee has officially hired Rick Barnes as its new head coach, the school announced Tuesday morning. A press conference is set for later this afternoon in Knoxville, Tennessee. 

    "Rick Barnes is an elite basketball coach in every respect," Tennessee athletics director Dave Hart said in a statement. "Rick brings an extremely impressive track record of excellence, as well as much-needed stability, to our men's basketball program. This is an exciting day for our Tennessee family."

    Barnes' new contract with Tennessee is for six years, at $2.25 million per year with incentives, according to multiple reports. In addition, Barnes will get his $1.75 million buyout from Texas. 

    His new contract is similar to his $2.55 million per year base salary he received at Texas this past year. The hiring comes just two days after Texas let go of Barnes.

    Original story: ESPN reported Monday afternoon that Barnes and Tennessee were close to a deal that would send the former Texas head coach to the Volunteers. In his farewell press conference Sunday, Barnes hinted to the fact he would land another coaching job soon when asked about his future.

    “Will I coach again? Yeah, quicker than you’d probably think,” Barnes said.

    Barnes and Texas “mutually agreed” to part ways Sunday morning, according to the official announcement. But it wasn’t as mutual as the report suggests. After failing to live up to expectations in the last couple of years, which includes losing to Butler in the first round this year and missing the tournament entirely in 2012-2013, reports leaked Thursday that Texas men's athletic director Steve Patterson told Barnes to make changes to his staff or risk being fired.

    His staff offered to leave, but Barnes wouldn’t let them.

    "I couldn't do that," Barnes said. "That would be me saying this is about me. I've been carried by a lot of people here. We're in this together."

    Barnes would be the third coach in three years for the Volunteers, who saw Sweet 16 success just two years ago under the guidance of Cuonzo Martin before he bolted for Cal this summer. Donnie Tyndall of Southern Mississippi replaced him.

    However, Tyndall's time at Tennessee was short-lived as he was fired Friday after just one season. His time was doomed before he started when Southern Mississippi released a statement in November that it was under investigation by the NCAA. Later in January, it said it had inflicted a self-imposed postseason ban. All this comes after Tyndall headed Morehead State when they went on probation five years ago for booster related activity.

    "Knowing what I know now, is that a mistake?" Tennessee athletics director Dave Hart told the AP on Friday. "Probably. ... But, you know, there are a lot of coaches out there that have a transgression in their history somewhere that had an opportunity to do better. Obviously, if we'd known [then] what we know now, we would have moved in another direction."

    Tyndall finished 16-16 in his lone year with a chance of future punishment “highly likely,” according to Hart.

    Tennessee loses its top scorer from last season but will return juniors Kevin Punter and Armani Moore, who finished averaging double-digit points.

    Barnes’ wife is also an alumnus of Tennessee.

  • Gregory Gym to become home venue for Austin Aces during 2015 season

    Gregory Gymnasium has primarily played host to basketball and volleyball, but this summer it will add indoor tennis to the list.

    The Austin Aces, out of Mylan World TeamTennis, announced Monday that it would play its seven home matches in Gregory Gym after playing at the Cedar Park Center last year.

    “We are thrilled to have been able to find a downtown home in Gregory Gym on the UT campus as the Aces work to become Austin’s premier professional sports brand and the must-attend sporting event each summer,” Aces owner Lorne Abony said in a press release.

    Abony said that getting a downtown venue was something they found while evaluating the team over the offseason both on and off the court.

    “From feedback we received and the analysis that was done by our front office, we felt that a relocation to a venue located closer to the city center would be in our team’s best interest,” Albony said.

    While Gregory seats 4,000 people for volleyball, the Aces said that capacity for tennis matches will be over 3,500 along with VIP tables and courtside seating.

    The Aces went 6-8 in its inaugural season last year, finishing third in the Western Conference. Austin is led by former world No. 1 Andy Roddick, who also resides in the area. The roster also includes two former NCAA champions as well as the second-ranked Russian on the ATP Tour, Teymur Gabashvili.  The team is coached by nine-time Grand Slam doubles champion Rick Leach.

    The Aces open up their 2015 season July 13 on the road at the Boston Lobsters and will play their first home match on July 16 against the California Dream.