Head Coach Rick Barnes
A proven winner at every stop of his career, Rick Barnes has led The University of Texas basketball program to a level of national prominence never before seen at the Forty Acres. In his first six years at the helm of the Longhorns, the 50-year-old Barnes has guided Texas to a school-record six consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, including a streak of three straight trips to the “Sweet 16” entering the 2004-05 season. Texas is one of just five schools (Connecticut, Duke, Kansas, Pittsburgh and Texas) that have advanced to the “Sweet 16” in each of the last three seasons.
The Longhorns have registered a 141-58 (.709) mark during this time, an average of 23.5 victories per year. Texas has posted a school-record five straight 20-win seasons entering the 2004-05 campaign. Included in this stretch was a trip to the 2003 Final Four, marking the third time in school history and first since 1947 (a span of 56 years) that UT had advanced to the Final Four. With talent, depth, recruiting, facility improvements and commitment to the program’s success at an all-time high, Barnes has everyone talking about Texas Basketball, both in Austin and around the nation.
Barnes has compiled a 343-192 (.641) record in 17 seasons as a head coach at George Mason, Providence, Clemson and Texas. Along the way, he has guided his teams to a total of 12 NCAA Tournament (including a current streak of nine straight) and three Postseason NIT appearances. Barnes is one of 23 coaches who have taken three different teams to the NCAA Tournament. In his first year with the Longhorns, he also became the first of these 23 to take his team to the “Big Dance” by his second year with each program, and in each case, inherit a program that had not been to the NCAA tourney the previous season.
Barnes is a coach who adapts his style of play to the talents of his team. In his first three years at Texas, the Horns combined a halfcourt offensive attack that featured post players Chris Mihm and Chris Owens with a hard-nosed, man-to-man defense that posted three of the top 10 marks in school history for single-season field goal percentage defense. In fact, Texas ranked fifth nationally in 2000-01 in field goal percentage defense, holding opponents to just 38.9% shooting on the year.
In 2001-02, Barnes instructed freshman point guard sensation T.J. Ford to push the ball and attack offensively at every opportunity. A smaller but quicker squad under Barnes’ guidance reached the “Sweet 16” for the first time since 1996-97. In 2002-03, the Longhorns turned heads around the nation by climbing to as high as No. 2 in the national polls (highest ranking in school history), earning a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and advancing to the Final Four for the first time since 1947. Last year, following Ford’s early departure to the NBA, Barnes used a balanced lineup that featured an 11-man rotation to post 25 wins and reach the “Sweet 16” for the third consecutive year, another first in Texas history.
In addition to creating success on the court, Barnes also has been the point-man in changing the physical face of Texas Basketball. The Frank Erwin Center recently completed a three-step, $52 million makeover. Phase one was completed prior to the start of the 2001-02 season, when the lower arena seating areas were reconfigured to move fans closer to the court. In the process, almost 1,200 arena-level seats were created as general admission seating for UT students.
Construction on the final two phases — luxury suites and the 40,000-square foot Denton A. Cooley Pavilion (a state-of-the-art practice facility located immediately south of the Erwin Center) — was completed in mid-October of 2003. The two-story facility now serves as the Longhorns’ permanent headquarters for the basketball program.
Barnes at Texas
In the process, Texas posted a 13-3 mark in the Big 12 Conference en route to capturing its first ever Big 12 crown and first outright league title since 1993-94. Texas claimed a No. 7 seed in the East Region of the NCAA Tournament before falling to Purdue 58-54 in a first-round nailbiter at Boston’s FleetCenter.
For his efforts, Barnes was named the Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year by both the media and the league’s coaches. He also earned mention as Basketball Times’ All-Southwest Coach, USBWA (United States Basketball Writers Association) District 7 Coach of the Year and NABC (National Association of Basketball Coaches) District 9 Coach of the Year. Barnes became the first rookie coach at Texas to win an outright league title since Harold Bradley led the Longhorns to the Southwest Conference crown in 1959-60.
Barnes led the Longhorns to one of the best regular seasons in modern school history in 1999-2000. Along the way, Texas posted a 24-9 record (13-3 Big 12, second), advanced to the second round of the NCAA tourney and earned a No. 15 final AP ranking, the best in school history. Tabbed No. 21 in the AP preseason poll, the Horns were ranked in the AP Top 25 all season for the first time in school history.
Despite playing the toughest schedule in school history (12 games against AP Top 25 foes), Texas won 20 games for the first time since 1995-96. The 22 regular-season wins tied for the third-most victories by a Texas team. The Longhorns also posted five wins against AP Top 25 opponents (two against Top 10 foes), breaking the school record for most wins in a season versus ranked opponents.
Texas earned a No. 5 seed in the West Region of the NCAA Tournament, tied for the best NCAA seed in school history since the tourney expanded to 64 teams. UT downed Indiana State (77-61) in the first round, before falling to fourth-seeded LSU (72-67) in round two.
One of 15 finalists for the 2000 Naismith National College Coach of the Year, Barnes helped develop junior Chris Mihm into one of the top centers in the country. Mihm earned consensus first-team All-America honors, becoming just the second player in Texas history (Jack Gray, 1935) to earn the accolade. Mihm also was named to the AP first-team All-America squad, becoming the first player in school history to earn the honor.
Despite losing four starters (including Mihm a year early to the NBA) from his 1999-2000 squad, Barnes did one of his better coaching jobs during his third year in Austin. He molded four true freshmen who played significant minutes and a total of eight newcomers into a team that posted a 25-9 record (12-4 Big 12, tied for second), advanced to the NCAA Tournament and finished the year ranked No. 18 in the final AP poll.
The ranking marked the first time in school history that the Horns appeared in the final AP poll in back-to-back seasons. In addition, the 49 wins from 1999-2001 tied the school record for most victories in a two-year span (25-9 in 2000-01; 24-9 in 1999-2000).
Texas used an eight-game winning streak to reach the Big 12 Tournament title game for the first time in the league’s five-year history before falling to Oklahoma. After earning a No. 6 seed in the South Region of the NCAA Tournament, the Horns closed out the season with a 79-65 loss to an upstart Temple squad which eventually reached the “Elite Eight.”
The Longhorns tied a school record for most home wins in a season (16-1 mark) and defeated two AP Top 10 teams (No. 5 Illinois, No. 6 Iowa State) at home in the same season for the first time in school history. Texas’ 23 regular-season wins also tied for the second-most regular-season victories in UT history. Barnes again earned USBWA District 7 and NABC District 9 Coach of the Year accolades.
Year four (2001-02) in Austin proved to be one of the most dramatic in school history. When All-America candidate Chris Owens was lost for the season with a torn ACL in late December, most predicted the Horns would be lucky to reach the Postseason NIT. One of the youngest teams in the nation (top five players by season’s end consisted of four sophomores and freshman guard T.J. Ford) managed to rally around each other and prove the nay-sayers wrong. The Longhorns posted a 22-12 record (10-6 Big 12, tied for third) and advanced to the NCAA “Sweet 16” for the first time since 1996-97.
Texas used a 70-61 win at No. 5 Oklahoma State to open Big 12 Conference play and set the tone for an exciting spring. The victory marked the first against an AP Top Five opponent in a true road game in school history. The Longhorns overcame a brutal February slate, as six of their eight opponents were ranked in the AP Top 25 at some point during the season, to earn a No. 3 seed in the Big 12 Tournament.
The conference wars proved to be a maturing process for Texas, with the league sending six teams to the “Big Dance” and four into the “Sweet 16.” After falling in the Big 12 tourney semifinals, the Longhorns headed to Dallas as a No. 6 seed at the Midwest Sub-Regional.
Before a pro-Texas crowd, the Longhorns posted wins against Boston College (70-57) and No. 17 Mississippi State (68-64) to advance to the “Sweet 16” for just the third time since the NCAA tourney expanded to 64 teams in 1985. In a matchup against No. 2 seed Oregon in the regional semifinals, Texas rallied from a 13-point halftime deficit to tie the game at 70 with 24 seconds remaining. However, a place in the “Elite Eight” was denied when Oregon guard Fredie Jones drove the lane and hit a running floater with three seconds left to give the Ducks a 72-70 victory.
Ford became the first freshman in NCAA history to lead the nation in assists (8.27 avg.), picking up USBWA National Freshman of the Year honors. Texas concluded the season tied at No. 18 in the final ESPN/USA Today poll.
The 2002-03 campaign was arguably the most successful season in school history. Returning all five starters from the team that reached the “Sweet 16,” expectations had never been higher. Texas was ranked No. 4 in the AP preseason poll.
The Horns proved up to the challenge, tying the school record for most victories in a season with a 26-7 mark. Along the way, Texas earned its highest ranking in both the Associated Press and the ESPN/USA Today polls in school history (No. 2 in both polls on Dec. 2, 2002). UT was ranked in the AP Top 10 for all 19 weeks of the season, a first in school history, and 13 of those 19 weeks were spent in the Top Five.
Barnes earned his 300th career collegiate victory in the 58-50 win against Louisiana Tech on Dec. 30, 2002. He also became the sixth coach in UT history to reach 100 wins while at Texas with a 70-50 victory against Iowa State on Jan. 11, 2003.
UT placed second in the final Big 12 standings by registering a 13-3 mark in arguably the nation’s toughest conference. The Longhorns posted a 14-0 record at home, marking the first time since the 1994-95 season and just the third time since the move to the Erwin Center in 1977-78 that the Horns completed an unbeaten home campaign. Texas also recorded a 6-4 mark against AP Top 25 teams, setting a school record for most victories against ranked opponents in a season, and a 3-1 record against AP Top 10 foes.
Barnes used a formula of depth and exceptional team chemistry to guide the Horns to their first-ever No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Texas made the most of its opportunities in the tourney, recording wins against UNC Asheville and Purdue during the First and Second Rounds in Birmingham, Ala. The Horns then posted hard-fought victories against No. 23 Connecticut and Michigan State at the NCAA South Regional in San Antonio to advance to their first Final Four since 1947, a span of 56 years. A 95-84 loss to eventual national champion Syracuse in the Louisiana Superdome before 54,432 fans, the largest crowd to ever see a Texas Basketball game, ended UT’s successful run in the NCAA semifinals.
One of 25 finalists for the Naismith National Coach of the Year, Barnes garnered Big 12 Coach of the Year honors from the league’s coaches and NABC District 9 Coach of the Year accolades. He helped develop sophomore guard T.J. Ford into one of the top players in school history. Ford became the first UT male to earn the Naismith and Wooden Awards as college basketball’s Player of the Year. He also was named National Player of the Year by CBS SportsLine, ESPN.com, Sports Illustrated and The Sporting News and garnered consensus first-team All-America recognition.
Despite the early departure of T.J. Ford to the NBA (eighth overall pick by the Milwaukee Bucks), year six (2003-04) saw Texas record a 25-8 mark and advance to its third straight “Sweet 16.” Led by a quartet of seniors who ended their careers as the winningest class in school history (98 wins), UT again was ranked in the AP Top 25 for all 19 weeks of the season.
Texas placed in a tie for second in the final Big 12 standings by recording a 12-4 mark. UT also advanced to the league’s postseason tournament championship game for the second time in four years, before falling to Oklahoma State. The Longhorns also registered an 8-5 record against AP Top 25 opponents, breaking the school record for most wins against ranked opponents in a season.
Barnes again used depth and balance to play an 11-man rotation while leading the Horns to a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the second-highest seed in school history. Texas recorded hard-fought wins against Princeton (66-49) and North Carolina (78-75) during the First and Second Rounds in Denver, before an upstart Xavier team ended UT’s season in the “Sweet 16.”
Texas reached the 20-win plateau for the fifth straight year, a first in school history. The Horns also recorded at least 25 wins for the second consecutive season, setting a school mark for most victories in a two-year period (51).The Clemson Years Barnes came to Texas after taking the Clemson program to never-before-seen heights in four short years, including a school-record three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and a No. 2 national ranking during its 1996-97 “Sweet 16” campaign. Barnes left Clemson with the school’s best all-time winning percentage (.607) and top winning percentage in Atlantic Coast Conference play. While at Clemson, Barnes’ teams drew more fans and saw more season tickets sold than at any other time in the program’s history. Overall, Barnes’ teams at Clemson posted a 74-48 record, including 13 wins against AP Top 25 teams. The Tigers jumped out to a fast start in Barnes’ initial season (1994-95), winning their first 10 games. In his first Atlantic Coast Conference game, Barnes guided Clemson to an upset of No. 9 Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium. It was the program’s first win at Duke in 10 years. Barnes had Clemson in the AP Top 20 (Jan. 10, 1995) for the first time since the 1989-90 campaign. His Clemson team, which didn’t have a starter over 6-7 and was tabbed in the preseason as “the worst team in ACC history” by the Greenville (S.C.) News, went on to finish 15-13 and earn an NIT bid. Barnes followed up his first year with an 18-11 overall record, earning Clemson’s first NCAA bid since the 1989-90 “Sweet 16” team. Along the way, the Tigers had four wins against Top 25 teams. Clemson also defeated every ACC school during the year for just the fifth time in school history. Barnes’ year was highlighted by a dramatic, last-second 75-73 victory over North Carolina in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals. The win marked the first by Clemson against the Tar Heels in the state of North Carolina in 29 years. The Tigers lost an 81-74 decision in the NCAA First Round to a Georgia team which reached the “Elite Eight.” Bolstered by a Top 10 national recruiting class, the 1996-97 Tigers jumped out to a 16-1 start and a No. 2 ranking. Clemson finished that season with a 23-10 record against a schedule ranked as the ninth-toughest in the nation. Barnes’ team played 15 games against teams ranked in the top 25 of the RPI poll, including nine games against top 10 foes. Clemson and LSU were the only schools in the nation to play three of the teams that advanced to the Final Four. The Tigers posted wins over Miami (Ohio) and Tulsa to advance to the NCAA “Sweet 16” for just the third time in school history, before falling to third-ranked and eventual Final Four participant Minnesota in a 90-84 double-overtime classic at San Antonio’s Alamodome. Clemson concluded the year ranked No. 8 in the CNN/USA Today poll, the highest final season ranking in school history. During his final season at Clemson (1996-97), the Tigers began the year ranked No. 5 in the preseason AP poll — the highest preseason ranking in school history. Despite facing a schedule ranked third toughest in the nation by the RPI and playing with an injured point guard in Terrell McIntyre for the majority of the season, Barnes’ team still posted an 18-14 mark en route to another berth in the “Big Dance.” It marked the third straight trip to the NCAA Tournament for Clemson, the first time in school history the feat had been accomplished. The Tigers posted three wins against Top 25 opposition during the regular season. Barnes also picked up his 200th win as a Division I coach with a 77-72 victory over North Carolina State on Feb. 26, 1998. The Providence Years Prior to his stint at Clemson, Barnes served as the head coach at Providence College for six years. During his tenure at the Big East Conference school, he posted an 108-76 (.587) overall record while leading Providence to its first Big East Tournament title and a total of five postseason appearances (three NCAA, two NIT). In his 102 games at PC, the Friars averaged 10,596 fans per game and posted the top five single-season attendance marks in school history. Under Barnes’ guidance, Providence recorded 17 wins over Top 25 teams. His 17 wins over ranked opponents are tied for second in school history, although he owns the mark on a season average basis (2.8 wins per year). Dave Gavitt had 23 ranked wins in 10 years, while Joe Mullaney chalked up 17 victories in 14 seasons. Barnes helped develop 11 Providence student-athletes who went on to play professional basketball at some level, including six NBA players. PC joined Duke as the only schools in the nation to boast at least two selections in both the 1994 and 1995 NBA drafts. All four Friars players drafted in those years were recruited and coached by Barnes. While at Providence, Barnes’ teams featured an up-tempo style that held rebounding as the key aspect of the game. Four of the top 11 scoring teams in PC history were coached by Barnes, including the 1988-89 squad that averaged a school-record 85.3 ppg. In his six years, the Friars averaged 79.7 points per game. In addition, each of his last four PC teams ranked in the top 25 nationally in rebound margin, including the 1991-92 squad which ranked fourth (+7.5). In his first season at Providence (1988-89), Barnes inherited an 11-17 team and opened the season with a 13-game winning streak. Less than a month into his first year, Barnes had the Friars in the Top 20. PC went on to post an 18-11 record and earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament, where it lost to Virginia 100-97 in the first round. Barnes was named District I Coach of the Year by the NABC. His second year at PC proved his initial season was no fluke. Barnes led the Friars to a 17-12 overall mark, including the school’s first win at the Carrier Dome with an 87-86 victory against No. 5 Syracuse. The win snapped a 21-game losing streak to the Orangemen. The Friars also upset No. 3 Georgetown en route to earning a second straight NCAA bid. Providence lost an overtime thriller to Ohio State in the first round of the “Big Dance”. With the help of the fourth-ranked recruiting class in the nation, the 1990-91 Friars posted a 19-13 record while narrowly missing a third straight NCAA appearance. During the year, PC played 12 games against ranked teams, including a remarkable 10-game stretch against Top 25 opponents from Jan. 8-Feb. 12. The Friars survived the span with a 5-5 mark. After receiving a NIT bid, Providence downed James Madison and West Virginia, before falling to Oklahoma in the quarterfinals. In his first three seasons at the Rhode Island school, Barnes had taken Providence to three straight postseason tournaments (two NCAAs and an NIT) and posted three consecutive winning seasons for the first time since the legendary Dave Gavitt accomplished the feat for the Friars 14 years earlier (1976-78). Barnes led a 1991-92 Providence team dominated by freshmen and sophomores to 14 wins, including a victory over No. 12 Syracuse. The Friars also posted a 23-point victory at Georgetown, the first time the Friars had ever won at the Capital Centre. PC returned to the postseason during the 1992-93 campaign, reaching the 20-win plateau for the first time since Rick Pitino’s memorable march to the Final Four in 1986-87. Along the way, Barnes led Providence to an 81-66 victory over No. 14 Arizona, marking the school’s first win over a ranked non-conference team since the 1977-78 season. He also became the first PC coach to post a season sweep against Georgetown. The Friars won 10 of their last 13 games to end the year, including a victory over UConn in the Big East Tournament, which earned PC its 1,000th win in school history. Providence defeated James Madison, West Virginia and Boston College in the NIT, before falling to Minnesota 76-70 at Madison Square Garden. PC finished fourth after dropping a 55-52 decision to UAB in the third-place game. In his final season at Providence, Barnes guided the Friars to a 20-10 mark (10-8 Big East) and a NCAA bid. It marked the first back-to-back 20-win seasons at PC since the mid-1970s. The 10 Big East wins were the most by a Providence team since Pitino’s Final Four squad posted a 10-6 mark in 1986-87. Providence won its last five regular-season games, then swept past Villanova, No. 2 UConn and Georgetown to capture the Big East Tournament crown. Despite losing to Alabama in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Barnes’ team ranked 14th in the nation in the final Sagarin computer poll. Getting Started Barnes accepted his first head coaching position at George Mason April 23, 1987. It was at the Fairfax, Va., school where Barnes’ teams began his trademark of defying the odds. Under his guidance, George Mason posted a 20-10 record in his first and only season, including a 9-5 mark in the Colonial Athletic Association. After leading his team to the conference tournament championship game, Barnes was recognized as the league’s co-Coach of the Year. Barnes coached his first team in a Hickory, N.C., recreation league while he was still in high school. He said then he wanted to teach high school. Nothing else. That all changed when he went to the 1978 Atlantic Coast Conference tourney in Greensboro, N.C. Coaching basketball at the collegiate level became his passion. Barnes began his collegiate coaching career as an assistant coach at North State Academy during the 1977-78 season. He then moved on to an assistant spot under Eddie Biedenbach at Davidson College the following year. After two seasons at the Davidson, N.C., school, Barnes moved on to George Mason where he served as an assistant to Joe Harrington from 1980-85. In 1985-86, Barnes joined Wimp Sanderson’s staff at Alabama as an assistant coach. The Crimson Tide posted a 24-9 record en route to a trip to the NCAA “Sweet 16.” The following year, he served as an assistant at Ohio State under current Maryland mentor Gary Williams. The Buckeyes had a 20-win season and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Personal Side A native of Hickory, N.C., Barnes was born on July 17, 1954. He was a standout basketball player at Hickory High, where he graduated in 1973. Barnes moved on to Lenoir-Rhyne College (Hickory, N.C.), where he lettered three years and won the Captain’s Award for Leadership as a junior and senior. He earned a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education from Lenoir-Rhyne in 1977 and was named the Distinguished Alumnus of Lenoir-Rhyne in 1997. Barnes was inducted into the Lenoir-Rhyne College Hall of Fame on Oct. 5, 2002. He and his wife, Candy (also a Hickory native), reside in Austin with their son, Nick (born Oct. 3, 1984), and daughter, Carley (born Jan. 9, 1988).