Multiple media outlets reported on Saturday afternoon that Rick Barnes will no longer be the basketball coach of The University of Texas before the school made the decision official on Sunday, calling it a mutual parting of ways.
Texas athletic director Steve Patterson has informed Rick Barnes that his tenure is over in Austin, sources told ESPN.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) March 28, 2015
This comes as no surprise, in light of recent events. Rumors that the end was near started Thursday evening. It was no longer a matter of if Barnes would be relieved of his duties -- it was a matter of when.
Texas AD Steve Patterson tells me he's in Iowa today for NCAA swimming. As for Rick Barnes, "Our conversations are ongoing."
— Brian Davis (@BDavisAAS) March 28, 2015
What's the potential hold up? The ongoing discussion could be in regards to a potential buyout for Barnes. When former football coach Mack Brown resigned, the Longhorns negotiated a buyout with him even though the school didn't technically owe Brown anything since he left "voluntarily."
The same talks could be happening right now between Barnes and Texas. Even though he's likely to resign, technically, Patterson may still pay him the $1.75 million buyout due him if he's fired before April 1. After that date, his buyout drops to $1.5 million.
In the school's official announcement on Sunday, Barnes issued a statement about his time at Texas.
"I am so blessed to have spent the last 17 years at The University of Texas," Barnes said. "This university, the city of Austin and the great Texas fans have been so good to me and my family. I sincerely want to thank (former UT Men's Athletics Director) DeLoss Dodds and (former UT Chairman of the Board of Regents) Don Evans for their work in bringing me here and providing me with this great opportunity.
I leave this job with no regrets. Instead, I look back at our time here and say 'thank you' to all the players, coaches and staff who have worked with our program throughout the last 17 years. I am so proud of our players and their success, not only on the court, but also in the classroom and in the community. I'm humbled when I really step back and think about how many of them have gone on to be such great all-around men in life."
Patterson also included a statement in the release.
"The University owes Rick a great deal of gratitude and respect for all he's done to put Texas on the Basketball map," Patterson said. "He elevated our program immensely and always did it with class. He put our student-athletes first. He won with integrity. We thank Rick for his many years of service to Texas and wish him continued success in the future."
In the spring of 1998, Rick Barnes left Clemson to become the head basketball coach in Austin. During his 17 years on the 40 Acres, Barnes posted a 402-180 record, earned 16 trips to the NCAA tournament, led the Longhorns to three Elite Eights and five Sweet 16s, and took a T.J. Ford led squad to Texas' only Final Four in the modern NCAA tournament.
But in recent seasons, the program has declined, failing to advance past the first weekend of the NCAA tournament since 2008.
Rumors of his resignation/termination have circulated for the better part of a week, including reports that Steve Patterson planned on retaining Barnes under the condition that he replace members of his staff. Many viewed that as a ploy to force Barnes, who is fiercely loyal to his staff, to resign on his own accord.
Multiple Barnes' era players have taken to Twitter to voice displeasure at the news.
Jonathan Holmes on the news of RB's dismissal. RT @J_Holmes10: Smh wow
— Burnt Orange Nation (@BON_SBNation) March 28, 2015
— Connor Lammert (@ANDtwenty1) March 28, 2015
And now Texas moves on, as does the most successful coach in school history.