Only 10 men’s Tennessee basketball coaches have lasted five years or more. Here is a ranking of all of their first five years with the Volunteers.
It’s no secret that the men’s Tennessee basketball program has a history of running through coaches. Due to NCAA investigations, administrative incompetence and sometimes a straight-up lack of commitment from the men themselves, numerous leaders of that program on Rocky Top have failed to make it five years.
After his 17-14 season and 9-9 SEC season that ended prematurely, Rick Barnes became just the fifth head coach to reach such an accomplishment. Even Jerry Green, who had what was at the time the most successful four-year run in school history, resigned under pressure after his fourth year on the job.
Kevin O’Neil and Cuonzo Martin were among those coaches, however, who just left. Donnie Tyndall didn’t last a year due to NCAA infractions. Buzz Peterson was just a bad coach. Simply put, Tennessee basketball coaches have failed to make it to five years for every reason under the sun.
So with Barnes finishing his fifth year on the job, it’s time to look at all the coaches who lasted at least that long. In this post, we’re going to analyze all of them and rank their first five years as head coach of the program.
Our criteria for this is wins, championships and rankings. Obviously, we’re looking at all the things that you measure a program’s success by. Remember, this is not ranking the best coaching careers of anybody in UT history, and it’s not even ranking the coaching careers among all the guys who lasted five years. It simply ranks the first five years of all 10 coaches who lasted that long.
In many cases, we can go all the way back to the turn of the century. And yes, some of the most notable legends are on here as well, people everybody is expecting us to get to. So let’s go ahead and break them down. This is our ranking of the first five years of all 10 men’s Tennessee basketball coaches who managed to last that long with the Vols.