Rick Barnes "A Serious Candidate" For UCLA Job

Rick Barnes emerges as the new front-runner in UCLA's basketball coaching search

Rick Barnes emerges as the new front-runner in UCLA's basketball coaching search

Tennessee men's basketball coach Rick Barnes has emerged as a candidate for the vacant UCLA job, sources told ESPN.

Barnes just finished up his fourth season in Knoxville, and it was one of the best in program history.

Barnes has been at Tennessee for the past four years, going 88-50.

Oklahoma was eliminated by Virginia in the second round of the NCAA Tournament this season.

Most importantly to UCLA, Barnes would be very interested in heading west if offered the chance per the Los Angeles Times' Ben Bolch. He led the Volunteers to a share of the regular-season SEC title last season, and he had them as the No. 1 team in the country for several weeks this season. But hiring Barnes could present a problem for UCLA if the school is unwilling to pay up.

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Vols Wire discussed news surrounding Barnes with prominent Bruins booster Casey Wasserman who has been influential in previous UCLA coaching searches.

UCLA had discussions with Kentucky's John Calipari, but he signed a lifetime deal with the Wildcats.

UCLA, meanwhile, reportedly balked at an $8 million buyout of TCU head coach Jamie Dixon. The Bruins have been looking for a permanent head coach to replace Steve Alford, who was sacked in December. Barnes would come slightly cheaper at $5 million, per 247 Sports.

Barnes has a 692-364 record in 31 years as a head coach.

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