ESPN reporter Chris Low says University of Tennessee head basketball coach Rick Barnes has been offered $5 million to take the head coaching job at UCLA, has been made a counteroffer by Tennessee, and is currently “wrestling” with the decision.
Sources told Low UCLA began pursuing Barnes last week. He was named Naismith Coach of the Year on Sunday and met with UT Director of Athletics Phillip Fulmer later in the evening. Low’s sources also said Fulmer and Barnes spoke again on Monday and had some correspondence with interim president Randy Boyd.
An ESPN source said Barnes loves living in East Tennessee, but is also intrigued by “the chance to restore UCLA to its past glory and finish his career at such a tradition-rich basketball school.”
Barnes earned $3.25 million this season before bonuses and incentives. His current buyout is $5 million.
Low reports a decision is expected within the next day.