Tennessee Vols morning report: Rick Barnes COY, is a UCLA candidate

KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 09: Tennessee Volunteers fans cheer during the first half of the game against the Indiana State Sycamores at Neyland Stadium on September 9, 2017 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 09: Tennessee Volunteers fans cheer during the first half of the game against the Indiana State Sycamores at Neyland Stadium on September 9, 2017 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Tennessee Vols basketball head coach Rick Barnes winning coach of the year and being a UCLA candidate leads our Volunteers news for Monday, April 8, 2019.

The final day of the college basketball season is here, and while Tennessee Vols fans would normally be looking ahead to closing out spring practice, they still have to worry about their basketball program. Turmoil following major recognition on that front is the focus of today’s news.

Our morning update on Rocky Top deals with the head coach himself, Rick Barnes, who achieved a big honor Sunday but then had news break about him being a candidate elsewhere later that night. That came on the heels of some staff turnover, which we’ll also dive into.

After that, there’s plenty of football spring news to bring you, including an interview with two separate coaches. On top of spring football, we have recaps in numerous spring sports, including baseball, softball, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s tennis and rowing. But let’s start with the basketball news.

Rick Barnes named Naismith Coach of the YearNaismithTrophy.com

Tennessee Vols men’s basketball head coach Rick Barnes was named the Naismith Coach of the Year on Sunday. Barnes led UT to its second 30-plus win season in school history, a No. 1 ranking for four weeks at one point, a win over the No. 1 ranked team in the nation by beating the Gonzaga Bulldogs, and a Sweet 16 appearance.

"Barnes won the top honor edging out the other three finalists Chris Beard (Texas Tech), Tony Bennett (Virginia) and Kelvin Sampson (Houston). He becomes the fifth coach from the Southeastern Conference (SEC) to win the Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s Coach of the Year Award."

UCLA Bruins have Rick Barnes in the mix for head coachDan Harralson, VolsWire.com

Tennessee basketball head coach Rick Barnes is one of the top candidates for the UCLA Bruins head coaching positions, and sources indicate he is interested. UCLA fired Steve Alford midway through this season and then had Murray Bartow finish out the year as interim head coach. UCLA booster Casey Wasserman detailed the search with VolsWire Sunday night.

"Vols Wire learned from someone familiar with UCLA, that Wasserman is involved in the search along with Golden State Warriors general manager, Bob Myers. Myers worked for Wasserman Media Group before joining the Warriors and played for UCLA, winning the 1995 national championship."

Rob Lanier leaves for Georgia StateMike Holmes, GeorgiaStateSports.com

Tennessee basketball assistant coach Rob Lanier is leaving for the Georgia State Panthers. Lanier, who had been with Barnes since 2011, was named their new head coach to start off the weekend. His last experience as a head coach was with Siena from 2001 to 2005.

"Known for his prowess on the recruiting trail, Lanier played a key role in the assembly and development of Tennessee’s 2016-17 recruiting class, which was responsible for 44 percent of the team’s scoring that season and finished the year as the highest-scoring crop of freshmen in program history (1,040 points). One member of that class, forward Grant Williams, went on to earn SEC Player of the Year honors as a true sophomore in 2018."

Jeremy Pruitt updates Trey Smith’s status3HL,104.5 The Zone

Tennessee Vols football head coach Jeremy Pruitt spoke with 104.5 The Zone ahead of this past weekend and talked about numerous things. But one that stood out was his update on offensive lineman Trey Smith, who is still out due to blood clots. Here’s a bit of what he said.

"“Trey is probably in the best shape of his life. He’s working really hard. He does everything except contact drills, so you see, when it was in offseason conditioning, him being the first in line. Or whether it’s out there in practice, he takes all the walk-throughs. He’s taking the approach like he’s going to be able to play this fall. That’s yet to be determined, but if he gets an opportunity, he’s going to be ready.”"

Tee Martin discusses return to Tennessee – The Nation, Sports Radio WNML

Tennessee football wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator Tee Martin is back on Rocky Top now 20 years removed from leading the program to a national championship. Over the weekend, he spoke about his return and what it’s been like so far. Here’s a bit of what he said.

"“It’s been fantastic, just to be back and to have the opportunity to work with this staff with Coach Pruitt. “I had known about Coach, you know, going head to head in recruiting battles over the years, and the respect I had for him as the defensive coordinator at ‘Bama in 2016 we played against them when I was at USC. And having Coach (Phillip) Fulmer as the athletic director and just being a part of this in what I feel is a special time and a very critical time in our program’s history.”"

Tennessee baseball loses series to Mississippi State – Wes Rucker, GoVols247

The Tennessee Vols baseball team lost two of three to the No. 5 ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs in a home series over the weekend. They lost on Friday in 11 innings and won on Saturday before losing the rubber game on Sunday. UT is now 23-10 overall and 4-8 in the SEC.

"Tennessee continues its nine-game home-stand with another midweek matchup against an in-state opponent as Lipscomb will visit Lindsey Nelson Stadium on Tuesday night. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. Eastern, and the game will be streamed live on SEC Network+ and the ESPN/WatchESPN apps."

Tennessee softball loses series to Auburn – Jessica Landefeld, Daily Beacon

The No. 5/7 ranked Tennessee Lady Vols softball team lost two of three over the weekend on the road to the No. 13/14 ranked Auburn Tigers, but they did win a game on Sunday 8-1, the second game of a doubleheader. With Sunday’s win, they were at least able to move to 29-8 overall and 7-5 in the SEC.

"Caylan Arnold pitched 3.0 innings, allowing two runs on two hits. Matty Moss relieved Arnold in the fourth, where she allowed one run on two hits in 4.0 innings."

Men’s tennis wins final home game vs. Arkansas – UTSports

The No. 14 ranked Tennessee Vols men’s tennis team defeated the Arkansas Razorbacks on Friday 4-0, winning their final home game of the year. They moved up to 16-6 overall and 6-4 in the SEC with the victory.

"Before the match, UT honored seniors Timo Stodder and Preston Touliatos. Stodder entered his final home match with 89 career singles victories which places him 16th all-time in program history. Combining his singles and doubles wins, the senior has a total of 155 victories as a Volunteer."

Women’s tennis wins Sunday match vs. Arkansas – UTSports

The No. 17 ranked Tennessee Lady Vols tennis team defeated the Arkansas Razorbacks on the road Sunday 4-1. That victory followed a Friday win over the Missouri Tigers, which was also 4-1. Tennessee is now 18-5 overall and 8-3 in the SEC.

"Tennessee’s current six-match SEC win streak is the longest since 2011 and marks just the second time since 2003 that UT has won six conference matches in a row. The win is also Tennessee’s fourth straight SEC road win, the first time since 2007 that the Lady Vols have accomplished that feat."

Men’s golf finishes third at Mason Rudolph Championship – GolfStat.com

The Tennessee Vols men’s golf team came in at No. 3 in the Mason Rudolph Championship, shooting 11-under par. They finished behind the Liberty Flames and the Vanderbilt Commodores. Nolan Ray led the way by shooting 8-under.

Women’s golf No. 13 at Clemson Invitational – GolfStat.com

The Tennessee Lady Vols golf team shot 4-over par on the first day of the Clemson Invitational to come in at No. 13. Mariah Smith, however, is tied for No. 2 on the leaderboard with a 4-under par score, and Micheala Williams is tied for No. 7 at 3-under par. The event will last through Tuesday, April 9.

Tennessee rowing has two No. 4 finishes at SDCC – CrewClassic.org

The Tennessee rowing team finished No. 4 in the finals with 1V8 and 2V4 boats each at the San Diego Crew Classic on Sunday. Their 2V8 and 1V4 boats finished No. 5 and No. 6 respectively.