Michael Schwartz wasn't the first name on Rick Barnes' short list to fill the assistant coaching void on his staff.
He was the only name.
Barnes didn't hesitate at all when he found out Chris Ogden would be leaving to eventually join new Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard in Lubbock. The second-year Tennessee coach simply turned to a former graduate assistant who shot up the basketball ranks from video coordinator to respected assistant.
"There was no doubt when we started knowing that Chris Ogden was going to leave," Barnes said at a press conference on Thursday. "There was one name and one name only that we knew we wanted to hope to be fortunate enough to come here. That was Mike."
Schwartz and Barnes will reunite once again after Schwartz clawed up the assistant ranks, starting with Barnes at Texas after winning a Big 12 championship under his new boss in 1999.
After four seasons as assistant who eventually was promoted to associate head coach at Fresno State, Tulsa hired Schwartz to be an assistant and recruiting coordinator in April 2015. The Los Angeles native has 14 NCAA Tournament appearances to his name as a player, administrative staff member or coach, and made a quick name for himself in the recruiting ranks as an assistant at Miami for six seasons under Frank Haith.
"I'd hope I'd like to think I'm a well-rounded coach," Schwartz said. "I can recruit and help us from some player development standpoint and help from a practice standpoint and game standpoint, and scouting and whatnot. The foundation that I have is from coach Barnes, so I think I'll be able to help us on the court, in recruiting and recruit high character players that will be a great fit for coach Barnes."
At Fresno State, Schwartz helped usher in some of the most successful recruiting classes in Bulldog history, including the recruitment of the school's all-time leading scorer, Marvelle Harris. Coaching across the country allowed the first-year Tennessee assistant to build strong relationships that should translate into a recruiting advantage for Tennessee.
"I think I really enjoy the thought of getting to know people and getting to know families, getting to know young prospects," Schwartz told InsideTennessee "You have an opportunity to change kids' lives. That's just the reality of it ... Why would you not take advantage of it? Why would you not scour the country? Why would you not really look into every corner and try to find every detail you could in the recruitment process?"
Schwartz has already met with the team and said he's eager to continue building Tennessee's program with familiar faces like Barnes and associate head coach Rob Lanier.
"As excited as coach (Barnes) says he is, I'm quadruply as excited," Schwartz said. "It's been a dream of mine to have the opportunity to be back with coach Barnes. I've thought about it my whole career and always wished I had the opportunity. I just feel very blessed and fortunate to have this chance to be here and be a part of this staff."