ST. LOUIS (USBWA) – Tennessee coach
Rick Barnes, who has led the Volunteers to arguably the
greatest season in school history that included a school-record
19-game win streak, has been named the winner of the Henry
Iba Award, given annually by the U.S. Basketball
Writers Association to its national coach of the year.
This is the first time for Barnes to win the Henry Iba Award and
the first time for a Tennessee coach to earn the honor.
the award is based on regular-season performance, the Volunteers
(31-5) tied a school record with a 31st win Sunday in their 83-77
overtime victory over Iowa in the South Region, where they are seeded
second. Barnes has Tennessee playing in its seventh all-time Sweet
16 later this week in Louisville, Ky., where they face Purdue on
Thursday. This is only the second 30-win season in Tennessee's history.
Barnes' guidance helped keep Tennessee ranked among the top 10
in both national polls throughout the season that included sitting
at No. 1 in the polls for four weeks at the end of the record win
streak. Led by Oscar Robertson Trophy finalist and first-team All-American
Grant Williams, Tennessee finished second in the Southeastern Conference
with a 15-3 record and a 29-5 finish to the regular season.
Barnes is the first SEC coach to win the award since Tubby Smith
of Kentucky in 2003, and only five SEC coaches have ever won the
Henry Iba Award – Barnes, Smith (2003), Cliff Ellis of Auburn (1999),
Eddie Fogler of Vanderbilt (1993) and Adolph Rupp of Kentucky (1966)
– since its inception in 1959.
He was chosen from a list of finalists that also included three
of the last four winners in Tony Bennett of Virginia (2018, '15,
also won at Washington State in '07) and Mark Few (2017, Gonzaga),
plus another former winner, Houston's Kelvin Sampson ('95 at Oklahoma),
as well as Chris Beard (Texas Tech), Matt Painter (Purdue), and
Mike Young (Wofford).
Tennessee's record 19-game win streak saw spanned from late November
into mid-February, marking the longest win streak of Barnes' coaching
career, and while defeating three top-five opponents along the way
the Vols led the SEC and were 20th nationally in scoring offense
(81.7 ppg). Their 49.6 shooting percentage also led the SEC and
was seventh nationally.
Barnes helped Williams, a junior forward, repeat as the SEC Player
of the Year and become just the 10th player in conference history
to win the award in back-to-back seasons, and the first since 1995.
Vols senior wing Admiral Schofield (first team) and point guard
Jordan Bone (second team) also earned All-SEC honors this season.
Barnes, who earlier this month was named the USBWA's District
IV Coach of the Year for a second consecutive season, will be honored
at the USBWA College Basketball Awards Dinner at the Missouri Athletic
Club in St. Louis on Mon., April 15. Public tickets for the dinner
are on sale at thecollegebasketballawards.eventbrite.com. Tickets
are $150 per person and include dinner, drinks and parking in the
MAC garage. Sponsorship opportunities are available by contacting
Jim Wilson at the MAC at 314-539-4488.
This is the 24th time Barnes has led a team into the NCAA Tournament,
the most among active SEC coaches. After Sunday's win, Barnes is
88-49 (.642) in four seasons at Tennessee and 692-363 (.656) in
32 seasons overall.
This is Tennessee's 22nd trip to the NCAA Tournament in its 109-year
history, or two fewer than Barnes (24) has in his head coaching
career. Tennessee's deepest NCAA Tournament run came in 2010 into
the Elite Eight, where it fell to Michigan State. The Vols have
competed in seven previous Sweet 16's, all of them this century
(2000, '07, '08, '10 and '14).
Barnes is the 13th head coach to lead four different programs
to the NCAA Tournament; he led Providence and Clemson to three berths
each before guiding Texas to 16 tournament appearances in 17 years.
This is his second straight appearance with the Vols. Of those 24
berths, he will this week coach in his seventh Sweet 16, and he
has been to three Elite Eights and one Final Four in 2003.
The Henry Iba Award is named in honor of the
legendary coaching great at Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State)
who won two NCAA championships and two gold medals and one silver
as coach of the U S. Olympic teams.
The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was
formed in 1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter
Byers. With some 900 members worldwide, it is one of the most influential
organizations in college basketball. It has selected an All-America
team since the 1956-57 season. For more information on the USBWA
and its award programs, contact executive director Joe Mitch at
Finalists named for USBWA's men's awards
• All-time Henry Iba Award