Barnes has this team ranked No. 1.🍊
Firing Jamie Dixon to hire Stallings was worse.
Even if you say that Dixon, like Barnes, was not improving the team, the hire was far worse.
Stallings had not improved Vandy in a long time and had never shown any" greatness." There was no plausible reason to believe he could do better than Dixon. At least Smart had that Final 4 run and was the "hot" choice that yearner nearly every opening. He may have been a flash in the pan, but he had more flash than Stallings ever did.
And was almost universally reviled.
Especially at Kentucky. I suspect that he'd be rather successful there.
I know he wasn't fired by Pitt, but my understanding is that the fans were getting tired of him and thought a change was needed to get them to the next level.
That it didn't work out the way they wanted didn't make it a bad move at the time.
Shaka was coming off a good tenure at VCU with strong tourney performance as a mid major. He was seen as one of the rising stars of the CBB coaching world.
Barnes hadn't made the Sweet 16 in ten years when they canned him. He was averaging 14+ losses over his last four years.
What Barnes is doing at Tennessee is one of the more surprising performances in college sports. Ditto for Shaka's struggles at Texas.
Whether it was right or not is tough to judge as an outsider. My familiarity with both UTs (Austin and Knoxville) lends me to take a there's-probably-more-to-the-story approach.
Barnes is a great guy off the court. Supports my wife's school and a research & service center at UT I helped start, so my perspective is skewed.
That said, his current success centers around a high-quality cohort of players, each of whom may benefit from each other more than anything else. It's a core of players that reminds me of Brey's best teams in terms of character.
We'll see what happens in upcoming seasons after this year's graduation & NBA draft. I'm not heavy into recruiting, but one of their incoming recruits is a family friend and plays at our HS. Another high-character kid. We'll see if the on-court success continues.
It may have been a perfect storm setting for Barnes to walk into or he may have figured out a way to tap into some regional talent that typically ended up elsewhere (UK, UL, Memphis, Vandy).
between reaching sweet 16.
He made elite 8 in years 8 and 10 before being fired.
VCU was a big jump for any coach. Barnes was a well known very competent coach similar to a Mike Brey or a John Beilein. His success at Tennessee is unsurprising.
Shaka has been about as bad as can be at Texas in terms of performance on the court.
Barnes and Texas needed the divorce. I always liked Rick but he'd peaked and the program was in decline. I don't begrudge him the success he has found at Tennessee
should he get?
Certainly welcome is wearing thin, but I do believe he'll be back next year and that will be the make or break year.
I think he's well liked and that helps him a little.
Shaka was the next great coach at the time (and there is still time for him to turn things). Getting him to Texas was a great accomplishment. The AD did everything right. Barnes was stale. I have followed him since George Mason. HE's been good but never close to being as successful as he is now.
I think the change of scenery was great for him and probably necessary.
As for hiring Smart, that obviously hasn't worked out so far. They don't even seem to attempt running his old "havoc" style, which probably was more suited to succeed against Atlantic 10-caliber competition than Big 12 competition. Texas isn't a great job either, at least from the standpoint of fan support.