Update: Head basketball coach Rick Barnes and Texas agreed to "part ways", according to a press release issued Sunday morning.
"I leave this job with no regrets," Barnes said in the statement. "Instead, I look back at our time here and say 'thank you' to all the players, coaches and staff who have worked with our program the last 17 years."
Barnes met with the media Sunday afternoon, where he spoke about his 17-year tenure and his departure from Texas.
"We can talk about the programs, the wins and losses," Barnes said. "But that's not what it's about. It's about the relationships...this 17-year run here isn't about me. It's about so many people."
The veteran head coach said he was told after Texas' loss to Butler in the NCAA Tournament that he would be returning next season, but "things changed," resulting in his departure. Reports surfaced this week that Athletic Director Steve Patterson wanted Barnes to make changes to his coaching staff, however, Barnes said Sunday he couldn't agree to that, despite several assistant coaches offering to give up their positions.
"I couldn't do that," Barnes said. "That would be saying this is about me. I've learned and been carried by a lot of great people here. We're in this together."
Barnes said he has no bitter feelings about his departure from the Longhorns. Texas now looks for Barnes' replacement, which the Austin American-Statesman reported will be found "within a week."
"I don't have any regrets," Barnes said. "I truly love the university of Texas and I always will...I would tell the next person to sit in my seat 'You're walking into something really, really special."
Patterson said in a statement he appreciated Barnes' hard work over his tenure.
"The University owes Rick a great deal of gratitude and respect for all he's done to put Texas on the Basketball map," Patterson said. "He elevated our program immensely and always did it with class. He put our student-athletes first. He won with integrity. We thank Rick for his many years of service to Texas and wish him continued success in the future."
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Original story: The Rick Barnes era at Texas has officially ended, according to multiple reports.
After weeks of speculation about Barnes’ future, Texas officials reportedly plan to release the veteran head coach Sunday or Monday, according to the Austin American-Statesman, ending a 17-year career with the Longhorns that made him the winningest basketball coach at Texas.
The news comes after multiple reports surfaced this week that said Barnes’ career at Texas was coming to an end after a 56–48 loss at the hands of Butler in the round of 64 of the NCAA Tournament. Thursday, reports said Barnes and athletic director Steve Patterson met twice to discuss the future of the basketball program. Patterson reportedly told Barnes he needed to make significant changes or risk losing his spot.
Then Friday, 247 Sports reported Barnes wouldn’t consent to the changes Patterson demanded, adding speculation to his future.
Barnes’ reported departure comes at the end of his 17th season at Texas, where he finished 20–14. After a strong 2013–2014 season and the arrival of freshman forward Myles Turner, many expected the Longhorns to make a deep postseason run and possibly decrown Kansas as the Big 12 champion.
However, despite a top-10 preseason ranking, Texas was on the bubble heading into the NCAA Tournament before scraping its way to an 11 seed. Throughout the speculation surrounding his job security, Barnes remained confident and had little to say.
Barnes, 60, has made a significant impact during his tenure with the Longhorns. After taking over a disordered program in 1998, he led Texas to 14 straight winning seasons, including three Big 12 titles. In his first 10 seasons, Barnes appeared in 10 straight NCAA Tournament games, with appearances in five Sweet 16s, three Elite Eights and a Final Four in 2003. As the winningest head coach of the program, Barnes tallied a 402–180 overall record.
But Barnes’ biggest breakdown has been his recent struggle in postseason play. Since reaching the Elite Eight in 2008, Texas has failed to make it past the round of 32, even missing the tournament in 2012. The Longhorns have also finished unranked in five of the last six seasons.
Barnes’ contract, which runs through March 2019, is currently worth $2.5 million per year. After his recent contract extension at the end of last season, he is due $1.75 million if he is fired before April 1.
The Austin American-Statesman reported that Patterson plans to find Barnes’ replacement within a week.