April 5, 2007
Now that Billy Donovan has announced his intention to stay at Florida, I have learned through a reliable source that Kentucky will focus on current Texas coach Rick Barnes as the leading candidate to replace Tubby Smith.
Barnes led the Longhorns to a 25-10 record during the 2006-07 season, including a loss to USC in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Texas has made nine straight NCAA appearances and has eight consecutive 20-win seasons under Barnes.
In nine seasons in Austin, he has compiled an impressive 216-86 record, including a trip to the Final Four in 2003. Texas finished 30-7 in 2006, his only 30-win season as a head coach.
Barnes began his collegiate head coaching at George Mason in 1988, compiling a 20-10 record. He then had stops at Providence (six seasons) and Clemson (four seasons) before going to Texas.
I believe that this will move quickly and that Barnes will accept the head coaching position at Kentucky.