Barnes out of UT picture

Former Ole Miss head man Rod Barnes won't be working with Tennessee's Bruce Pearl this basketball season but he might be working with former Vol coach Jerry Green.

Barnes was one of the first candidates to interview for the UT vacancy created when Scott Edgar left to become head coach at Southeast Missouri State, but Barnes is no longer in the running. He is, however, believed to be a leading contender for a staff opening at Oklahoma, where Green is director of basketball operations.

Barnes played four years and coached eight years at Ole Miss, giving him a strong background in Southeastern Conference basketball. He also is a defensive-minded coach, and halfcourt defense was a problem area for Tennessee in 2005-06. Because of these attributes, Barnes was viewed as a leading candidate for the Vol vacancy.

With the search for Edgar's successor now in Week 5, though, Barnes is no longer part of the candidate pool.

"I interviewed Rod and liked a lot of things about his candidacy,'' Pearl told The Knoxville News-Sentinel. "There were just a lot of things I liked about him, but I'm still in the process of looking for the best fit.''

In addition to Barnes, Pearl has interviewed four other candidates for the Vol opening -- Kent State assistant coach Josh Oppenheimer, former Iowa State aide Damon Archibald, Bob Sundvold of the ABA's Kansas City Knights and former Texas-San Antonio head coach Tim Carter.

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