Kruger Denies Interviewing For UCLA Head Coaching Job

Kruger Denies Interviewing For UCLA Head Coaching Job

Kruger Denies Interviewing For UCLA Head Coaching Job

UCLA has made an aggressive push to land Barnes, and the two sides have had serious conversations, sources told ESPN's Chris Low.

Tennessee athletic director Phillip Fulmer later confirmed that Barnes will remain at the school.

Vol fans had quite a scare Monday after talks between Barnes and UCLA escalated for the Tennessee coach to become the next head coach of the Bruins.

Fulmer said he was grateful to both Barnes and his wife, as well as the "university leadership, which stepped up to show Rick how much he is valued and appreciated". Barnes would accept the UCLA job if formally offered it, according to Bolch. The 64-year-old is very happy in Tennessee, but the chance to finish his career at UCLA with the chance to restore the program to prominence is very tempting to him.

Other reported coaching candidates of interest to UCLA include Mick Cronin of Cincinnati, Randy Bennett of Saint Mary's, and former Bruins point guard Earl Watson, who was sacked as head coach of the Phoenix Suns three games into the 2017-18 season.

Fulmer added: "The University of Tennessee and East Tennessee as a whole have developed an enhanced love and appreciation for our men's basketball program and its culture under Rick's leadership, and I'm thrilled that he will remain a part of our Tennessee Athletics family".

UCLA's pursuit of Rick Barnes did not work out.

Barnes was paid $3.25 million this season, according to USA Today's salary database, after agreeing to a contract extension that included $100,000 annual raises.

Barnes' overall coaching record is 692-364, with stops at George Mason, Providence, Clemson and Texas before Tennessee. Still, Barnes proved he can win at Tennessee and he's playing in a better league in the SEC than what the Pac-12 provides.

UCLA also had interest in Texas Christian's Jamie Dixon, but the school elected to pursue other options last week after reportedly electing to not pay the $8 million buyout of his contract.

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