"Theres always going to be people looking for a scoop, snooping around, asking this and asking that," Barnes said. "First of all, Ive got too much respect for this profession and its coaches who might be considered gone for me to be confirming or denying rumors about jobs that arent even open."
Just because Barnes hasnt been contacted yet by other universities doesnt mean it wont happen. In fact, it should. Despite the fact that his current depleted roster has produced an on-the-bubble 19-9 record, Barnes is considered a hot commodity in Division-I circles after guiding a so-called Football School to three straight Sweet Sixteen appearances.
"Ive always said Im going to be as honest as I can about everything, but Im not going to lie. I plan on being at Texas for a long time. Thats what I plan on doing. Do I know whats going to happen in the future? I absolutely dont."
Barnes concedes, however, that he has kept previous job moves as clandestine as possible to mollify the rumor mill. Case-in-point: Barnes agreed to leave his "dream job" at George Mason University to interview at Providence "under one circumstance -- we do it at midnight, we do it in Boston." He also told Providence officials that "if you want to show me the campus, well ride down there at two in the morning."
That, in fact, was what Barnes did. He followed the popular Rick Pitino and coached at Providence form 1988-94. Then, when Barnes left Providence for Clemson, "I had the job for six weeks and nobody knew it. I accepted the job at the end of January."
The same thing happened when Texas Mens AD DeLoss Dodds contacted Barnes in 1998.
"They called and I said, When you really want to get serious and talk about it, I dont want anybody to know about it. Im not coming to Austin; Ill meet you in Dallas. And thats what we did."
Barnes actually interviewed (again, secretly) for the Virginia job while he was still at Providence.
"I went down and met them in Washington, accepted the job and drove down to Charlottesville, met the president and was planning to meet the incoming president. In between, I decided that I wasnt going to leave."
Barnes would not elaborate on the factors that prompted his change of decision, although he added that the (then) president of Providence College would have reluctantly released him from his contract.
"I understand rumors and some of them get annoying," Barnes said. "Some of them are hilarious. You get to where you think youre going to have to talk about every one of them. The fact of the matter is, I dont know the future. I hope Im around for a long time, but I dont know."
But whereas the future is generally known, Barnes holds fast to one particular expectation.
"I fully expect to be coaching at The University of Texas for a long time," he concluded.