Patterson: No comment on Rick Barnes' future

Texas athletic director Steve Patterson wouldn't comment on Rick Barnes' future after the Longhorns lost to Butler, 56-48, failing to get out of the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament for the seventh straight year.

When Steve Patterson was asked by if Rick Barnes would be back at Texas next season, Patterson refused to comment.

"I'm not talking. I've got other stuff I'm trying to handle right now," Patterson said between phone calls at court side after the loss.

Rick Barnes, UT's all-time winningest coach who won his 600th game (and 400th game in 17 years at UT) in a disappointing, 20-14 season, was asked after the game if he's operating as if he'll be back at Texas next season.

"Yeah. I have no reason not to think that," Barnes said. "No one's ever talked to me about anything like that. I've never had one conversation like that. I don't know how to answer that really. I've been blessed to have the time I've had at Texas. I could never complain about anything at Texas, because I understand the game. I understand all of it.

"I tell our team this, everyone wants to play deep into the tournament this year, and I think anyone who has been around the program knows that we were dealt some tough blows with what happened this year. But I think there's also people who want to create news. I haven't thought about that question to be honest with you."

Barnes, who earned $2.625 million this season and received a $125,000 bonus for making the NCAA Tournament, has a $1.75 million contract buyout that drops to $1.5 million on April 1, according to his contract.

Barnes said to improve the program "we have to get better offensively. There's no doubt we've got to be able to shoot the ball better." 

When Barnes was asked if improving the offense meant staff changes, he said no.

"I don't want you guys to try to create stories here, OK? We analyze our program every year. I think I've got a great staff. I love our players, and we've recruited guys we think can help us. Everybody's got to get better.

"If you have any competitive fire at all, you're always going to evaluate and analyze, and that's what we'll do."

Barnes said he anticipates sitting down with athletic director Steve Patterson when they return to Austin, at some point, to discuss things.

"He's been nothing but supportive," Barnes said. "He walked into a very difficult situation with all the changes in intercollegiate athletics - as a whole - not just football, basketball and baseball. And in a short time, he's helped change the enthusiasm in our building, and I appreciate that.

"But, again, he and I will sit down and talk. I value his opinion, certainly, because he's been around sports a long time. And he's been nothing but supportive of me from the time he's gotten here."

Barnes said to improve the program "we have to get better offensively. There's no doubt we've got to be able to shoot the ball better." But Barnes said that didn't mean making any staff changes.

Both Myles Turner and Isaiah Taylor told me after the game they needed time to explore whether or not they'd look to enter the NBA Draft or return to Texas. Both said they supported Rick Barnes and feel he's still the right coach to lead the program.

Texas failed to get out of the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament for the seventh straight season. 

Against Butler, Texas turned it over 15 times (leading to 16 Butler points) and cut an 11-point deficit to 1 (44-43) with 2:42 left before being outscored 12-5 the rest of the way while missing the front end of a 1-and-1, suffering a key turnover and poor clock management.

Barnes said the loss "pretty much sums up our year, to be honest."



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