Bruins officials had offered the veteran coach a five-year contract, according to multiple reports, with Tennessee officials countering with a five-year deal that enhanced what Barnes already was receiving from the school.
The Bruins pivoted to Barnes over the weekend only after failing to land Texas Christian’s Jamie Dixon because they were unwilling to pay Dixon’s $8-million contract buyout. Barnes has a $5-million buyout as part of his contract.
Barnes, 64, rebuilt Tennessee into one of the nation’s top teams last season, earning him the Naismith Award as national coach of the year. The Volunteers tied a school record with 31 victories in Barnes’ fourth season at the school and reached an NCAA tournament regional semifinal before losing to Purdue.
Barnes is highly respected within the coaching fraternity but already is as old as legendary UCLA coach John Wooden was when he retired in 1975.
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