Tennessee

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Update: Tennessee officially hires Rick Barnes

Update: The University of Tennessee has officially hired Rick Barnes as its new head coach, the school announced Tuesday morning. A press conference is set for later this afternoon in Knoxville, Tennessee. 

"Rick Barnes is an elite basketball coach in every respect," Tennessee athletics director Dave Hart said in a statement. "Rick brings an extremely impressive track record of excellence, as well as much-needed stability, to our men's basketball program. This is an exciting day for our Tennessee family."

Barnes' new contract with Tennessee is for six years, at $2.25 million per year with incentives, according to multiple reports. In addition, Barnes will get his $1.75 million buyout from Texas. 

His new contract is similar to his $2.55 million per year base salary he received at Texas this past year. The hiring comes just two days after Texas let go of Barnes.

Original story: ESPN reported Monday afternoon that Barnes and Tennessee were close to a deal that would send the former Texas head coach to the Volunteers. In his farewell press conference Sunday, Barnes hinted to the fact he would land another coaching job soon when asked about his future.

“Will I coach again? Yeah, quicker than you’d probably think,” Barnes said.

Barnes and Texas “mutually agreed” to part ways Sunday morning, according to the official announcement. But it wasn’t as mutual as the report suggests. After failing to live up to expectations in the last couple of years, which includes losing to Butler in the first round this year and missing the tournament entirely in 2012-2013, reports leaked Thursday that Texas men's athletic director Steve Patterson told Barnes to make changes to his staff or risk being fired.

His staff offered to leave, but Barnes wouldn’t let them.

"I couldn't do that," Barnes said. "That would be me saying this is about me. I've been carried by a lot of people here. We're in this together."

Barnes would be the third coach in three years for the Volunteers, who saw Sweet 16 success just two years ago under the guidance of Cuonzo Martin before he bolted for Cal this summer. Donnie Tyndall of Southern Mississippi replaced him.

However, Tyndall's time at Tennessee was short-lived as he was fired Friday after just one season. His time was doomed before he started when Southern Mississippi released a statement in November that it was under investigation by the NCAA. Later in January, it said it had inflicted a self-imposed postseason ban. All this comes after Tyndall headed Morehead State when they went on probation five years ago for booster related activity.

"Knowing what I know now, is that a mistake?" Tennessee athletics director Dave Hart told the AP on Friday. "Probably. ... But, you know, there are a lot of coaches out there that have a transgression in their history somewhere that had an opportunity to do better. Obviously, if we'd known [then] what we know now, we would have moved in another direction."

Tyndall finished 16-16 in his lone year with a chance of future punishment “highly likely,” according to Hart.

Tennessee loses its top scorer from last season but will return juniors Kevin Punter and Armani Moore, who finished averaging double-digit points.

Barnes’ wife is also an alumnus of Tennessee.

For the first time in three years, No. 22 Texas women’s tennis will play in Nashville, Tennessee — this time, to face off against opponents in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend. 

Texas has hosted the Kick-Off Weekend the past two years, but the Longhorns will not have the home-court advantage as they play No. 46 DePaul to start the spring season. 

Fifteen venues around the nation are hosting the four-team women’s tournament, and each venue will adhere to the standard dual match elimination system.

The Longhorns will play the Blue Demons on Saturday at 2 p.m. before facing off against either Harvard or Vanderbilt the next day.

The lineup for this weekend is led by a single upperclassman: junior Breaunna Addison, a two-time All-American and reigning Big 12 Player of the Year. Addison is in the singles lineup alongside three sophomores – Ratnika Batra, Pippa Horn and Neda Koprcina – and two freshmen – Ryann Foster and Danielle Wagland. 

Last week, the Longhorns debuted two new coaches in the Miami Spring Invite. Head coach Danielle McNamara took over the program last fall and hired former UCLA All-American Courtney Dolehide as assistant coach. On the last day of the Invite, Texas landed five wins, including singles victories from Wagland, Foster and Horn. 

The championship match between the two winning teams from Saturday will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday. The winner of that game will qualify to compete in the ITA National Team Indoor Championship next month at the University of Virginia.

Sophomore center Kelsey Lang and Texas are off to a 5-0 start after their upset win over Tennessee.

Photo Credit: Ethan Oblak | Daily Texan Staff

The fourth-ranked Longhorns women’s basketball team will continue its six-game home stand at the Frank Erwin Center on Wednesday at 7 p.m. against New Mexico.  

Texas, now 5-0, ended a five-game losing skid against Tennessee with its win over the Lady Volunteers on Sunday.

The Longhorns had four players score in double digits, including senior forward Nneka Enemkpali, who scored 17 points for Texas. Freshman guard Ariel Atkins scored 12 and sophomore guard Brianna Taylor followed with 11.  

For Enemkpali, there was only one more chance to break the losing streak against Tennessee.  

“It feels amazing,” Enemkpali said. “We have to stay humble and remember this is just the beginning.”

Texas led 30-20 at halftime. Sophomore center Kelsey Lang scored an impressive 18 points and Texas continued its blazing start with a 72-59 win.

“I have gained so much confidence because they have confidence in me,” Lang said. “I couldn’t do what I do without my teammates giving me the kinds of passes that they have been giving me.” 

Texas claimed its second consecutive Phillips 66 Big 12 honor this week when Lang was named Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week, one week after Enemkpali was given the same title.

Head coach Karen Aston believes her players’ efforts are paying off, allowing a special era of basketball to unfold at Texas this season.

Texas has beaten two top-10 teams, including Stanford, in just five games this season.

Texas moved up two spots to No. 4 in the Associated Press Top 25 on Monday. It is the Longhorns’ highest ranking in both polls since December 2008 (No. 4/4) after starting the season 11-0.

An injury report confirms junior center Imani McGee-Stafford is not cleared to participate Wednesday because of a leg injury. 

Texas will put its win streak on the line against the 1-5 Lobos.

Redshirt junior Tiffany Baker is playing in her first season as a Longhorn after transferring spring 2013. The outside hitter made her debut against UTEP in the Lobo Classic last week.

Photo Credit: Griffin Smith | Daily Texan Staff

Though she’s been in Austin for over a year, redshirt junior Tiffany Baker stepped onto the court as a Longhorn for the first time last week. 

Last season, Baker suffered a knee injury that kept her from playing all of last year. But after a year of recovery, she got the chance to put on her new Texas uniform for the first time at the Lobo Classic.

“It was a long recovery,” Baker said. “It was gruesome, but my trainer and teammates were super supportive.”

Baker, who transferred from Tennessee in spring 2013, said her first time playing with the Longhorns didn’t disappoint.

“Honestly, it was something I’ve been looking forward [to] ever since I got here,” Baker said. “It was hard sitting out that long because I’ve never had an injury that serious, but my team was super supportive, and it’s been awesome to be back on the court with them.”

Baker said she learned a lot during her recovery, which gave her the ability to improve as a leader and as a player.

“My leadership skills grew,” Baker said. “I got to know the team more. I wasn’t super vocal as a leader before this. Getting that time off, I got to know personalities and know how people worked on the team, so that helped me to get more comfortable leading vocally when I’m not on the court.”

Those newfound leadership skills helped Texas head coach Jerritt Elliott identify Baker as a team captain.

“I’m so proud of her work ethic,” Elliott said. “She’s a really special one. She’s got tremendous work ethic. She’s extremely solid. She’s committed to the team. She may not be playing as she’d like, but she brings a lot in terms of support and leadership, understanding what it takes to be great for the younger players.”

Baker is no stranger to success, though. As a senior in high school, she was named the Texas Gatorade Player of the Year and won a state championship with 5A Hebron High School.

As a freshman at Tennessee, Baker and the Lady Vols won an SEC Championship and then finished third in conference in 2012. But, the following year, she wasn’t happy with her situation in Knoxville and decided to transfer to Texas — a decision she doesn’t regret.

“It’s extremely more competitive in the gym,” Baker said. “It’s amazing. I love it. It’s what I came here for, is to compete every day and play at a high level.”

As Texas prepares to face Florida this weekend, Baker hopes to get a win against her former SEC rivals.

“I just want to keep up the whole ‘me being undefeated’ against Florida,” Baker said. “Obviously, Texas and my teammates have been undefeated against Florida since I’ve been here, so we want to keep that up.”

Singer-song- writer Andrew Belle will play at SXSW this year as a part of Nashville-based group Ten out of Tenn.

Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Andrew Belle | Daily Texan Staff

Chicago-based singer-songwriter Andrew Belle returns to South By Southwest this year as part of his tour with Ten out of Tenn, a group of 10
singer-songwriters from Nashville, Tenn. Belle will perform on two separate days, beginning Mar. 14 at The Listening Room at Winflo and Rowdy’s Saloon. Belle said he hopes his presence at SXSW will allow him to reconnect with old friends, listen to some good music and have a great time.

Ever since his move to Nashville, Tenn., in 2009, Belle had secretly always wanted to be a part of Ten out of Tenn. His sister-in-law, a photographer familiar with local Nashville artists, helped him get plugged into the local music scene. He later joined the Ten out of Tenn troupe and was invited to perform with the group on its national tours.

“They really helped me launch my Nashville touring presence,” said Belle, who eventually moved back to Chicago in 2011. “All of a sudden, I went from no tour experience to performing on stage in front of hundreds of people, and playing in cities I’d never even been to before.”

With two albums behind him, The Ladder (2010) and Black Bear (2013), Belle is currently working on a stripped-down version of Black Bear.

“It’s going to have a similar feel,” Belle said. “But it’s going to be less ambitious. We will be reinterpreting the songs so that people who were fans of The Ladder and who weren’t fans of the Black Bear record will be able to listen to music that’s somewhere between the two albums.”

Belle said the Black Bear album title is derived from a personal experience he went through a couple of years ago.

“I had a very real, impactful experience with God and in my relationship with God,” Belle said. “I didn’t want to be confronted by the way I was living my life, and I felt like God was sort of pursuing me, much like an animal pursues its prey. So when I was writing lyrics for the song ‘Black Bear,’ the name just came to me.”

After discovering artists such as Radiohead and Washed Out between 2008 and 2012, Belle began dabbling in electronic musical instruments and found that alternative and electronic music presented him with more opportunities to experiment. During this time, he also continued to play in Chicago bars and restaurants, trying to make a living playing cover songs.

“I had a lot of new inspirations to draw from,” Belle said. “I discovered a singer-songwriter, Greg Laswell, who was a big influence on me and my writing at that time. I would go into work and I would be playing in bars for a couple of hours. I would use that time to work on new material and song ideas. I would strum these ideas, piece together the lyrics and would just play around.”

Belle’s interest in music developed in school when he first heard the band Counting Crows, but it wasn’t until college that he decided to do more songwriting and singing.

“One of my first stage performances was an open mic in college,” Belle said. “I didn’t perform very well because I got very nervous. I do wrestle with a mild case of nerves now and then since I’m not really a natural performer. I love songwriting, and performance is just a consequence of that.”

Most of Belle’s inspiration to write is borrowed from his personal relationships.

“Romantic relationships have been an inspiration,” Belle said. “I got married last year, and my marriage holds endless amounts of inspiration for me. My family and relationships are the most meaningful to me. Those are things that constantly appear in my music.”

Belle said he always approaches songwriting from an emotional standpoint. “That’s kind of what attracts me to music in the first place,” Belle said. “I just love having an autobiographical approach to writing lyrics. I’m a typical guy who is not super dramatic, but when I write, I feel a little more dramatic and emotional than I normally am.”

Belle’s songs have been featured in the television dramas, “One Tree Hill,” “Castle” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”

“I didn’t really know how to handle that success,” Belle said. “I had decided to keep living the way I was living, but then I realized with success comes responsibility. I’ve learned that I need to find my identity, which can be possible only through my faith in God. I’m learning to not put my identity into what I do for a living, because the minute it starts to go away, you don’t have a self anymore. You don’t know who you are anymore.”

Photo Credit: Pu Ying Huang | Daily Texan Staff

When students left Austin for winter break, the women’s basketball team was about to face off against its toughest opponent of the season, No. 3 Tennessee.

Although four Longhorn players posted double-digits in the game — senior Chassidy Fussell, juniors Nneka Enemkpali and Krystle Henderson and sophomore Empress Davenport — they couldn’t take down the powerful Lady Vols, and eventually fell 75-61.

Despite the loss, the Longhorns showed much improvement since last season and even since earlier this year. The development of the team proved to be a good preview for how the rest of its holiday-break games would play out.

Texas went on to handily beat Sam Houston State 109-48 at home the next week. The victory allowed the Longhorns to build confidence after their loss against Tennessee and began a three-game winning streak. Texas earned large-margin victories against Northwestern State (90-60) and Idaho (87-58). 

The win streak came to a halt in the Longhorns’ first Big 12 matchup of the season against No. 11 Oklahoma State. The Longhorns lost by six points but held Oklahoma State under its season scoring average by more than 14 points and under its season averages in field-goal percentage, three-point field-goal percentage, rebounds, assists and steals. 

Texas’ second Big 12 opponent of the season was Kansas State. Texas came away victorious, but although the game looked great on paper, head coach Karen Aston wasn’t completely satisfied.

“They had a tremendous first half from an energy perspective, and I thought we were really good on the defensive end,” Aston said. “Then we went in at halftime and maybe went to sleep a little bit. I didn’t think we were as interested in execution and energy in the second half.”

The Longhorns gave Aston just what she asked for in their next matchup against No. 22 Oklahoma — an energized and passion-filled second half.

The Longhorns trailed the Sooners by 12 at halftime but managed to cut the deficit to three with just 36 seconds to go. That’s when senior GiGi Mazionyte jumped up to sink a three-pointer to send the game into Texas’ first overtime of the season.

The Longhorns dominated, mainly from the free throw line, finishing on top, 79-74.

Texas seemed to be making overtime games a habit when its game Sunday morning against West Virginia also went into extra minutes.

The score was tied at 48-48 with 14 seconds to go. A missed layup opportunity for the Mountaineers kept the score stagnant and sent the game into overtime. Unfortunately for the Longhorns, this overtime wouldn’t play out in their favor, as they suffered their fifth loss of the season in Morgantown.

The Longhorns will play their first game of the spring semester at home against Kansas on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

After a grueling start to the season in which the women’s basketball team faced physically stressful practices and even traveled to other countries, it must now place all of their remaining energy into facing-off against tough opponents.  

“We need to reenergize our batteries,” head coach Karen Aston said. “We’re a little tired, you can tell.”

Under the current circumstances, Aston is just concerned with taking the next couple of matchups one game at a time.

“The next few weeks are difficult for them as student athletes,” Aston said. “We need to get to Sunday and play as hard as we can possibly play and as good as we can possibly play, and then they need a break because academics are important.”

But the Longhorns certainly won’t catch a break Sunday when they take on third-ranked Tennessee.

“The energy level is going to need to be extremely high for us, because theirs will be,” Aston said.

After winning their first holiday tournament title since 2005 a week ago, the Lady Volunteers had the next week off to rest — something Texas desperately needs.

The Longhorns are already the underdogs in this game and exhaustion won’t help. But Texas already pulled an upset this season when they took down then No. 12 A&M, 69-58.

Also working against the Longhorns is playing on the road at Tennessee. The Lady Vols average 10,395 attendees per game, compared to Texas’s 3,010.

“Any time you go up there, it is a terrific environment for women’s basketball,” Aston said. “They have great fans.”

Although the Lady Vols don’t have any players that stand out significantly, they have a talented, balanced attack. Junior Ariel
Massengale is their leading scorer, averaging 13.7 points per game, and sophomore Bashaara Graves is their leading rebounder, averaging nine rebounds per game, but the other top six players aren’t far behind.

The Longhorns have three more non-conference games after Tennessee before starting Big 12 play in January. By the time winter break is over, they will have already competed against No. 14 Oklahoma State, Kansas State, No. 17 Oklahoma and West Virginia.

The Longhorns battled through injuries to get a much-needed win against Kansas State two weeks ago, but there’s no reason to have a rush of confidence. Linebacker Jordan Hicks is out for the season, Daje Johnson is back but Mike Davis is questionable and David Ash’s head injury will keep him from playing this week and will be a serious cause for concern for the rest of the year. Still, Iowa State is one of the worst teams in the Big 12. If Texas were to only win one road game all season, this would be it. As long as they continue to rely on an emerging Johnathan Gray, who rushed for 141 yards and two touchdowns against the Wildcats, they should be able get through this week with a victory and head into the Red River Rivalry with a winning record. No blowout, but they should manage to eke out a cover of the nine-point spread.

Texas (-9) at Iowa State

 

Lock of the Week

Georgia (-10) at Tennessee

Aaron Murray and Co. are coming off their biggest win of the season, defeating LSU, 44-41. The victory vaulted the Bulldogs back into SEC and national title contention and title contenders should have no problems beating a Tennessee team that struggled at home against South Alabama last week. Stud running back Todd Gurley’s injury status is up in the air, but Georgia should easily win by double-digits regardless.

 

Upset Alert

Illinois (+10) at Nebraska

The Cornhuskers lost at home by 20 points to the only decent team they’ve played this season in a 41-21 shellacking at the hands of UCLA. The Nebraska defense has problems. They’re a dismal No. 107 in total defense and gave up 465 yards to FCS South Dakota State in their last game two weeks ago. The Illinois offense is averaging over 40 points per game and, if this contest turns into a shootout, the Fighting Illini will have a great chance to pull off the upset in Lincoln.

Darren’s record: 8-4 (.667)

No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 6 A&M

Obviously. It’s the most anticipated game of the season. How could you not watch? With Johnny Manziel constantly in the spotlight for his amazing athleticism (and amazing arrogance,) and Nick Saban coming off back-to-back national championship victories, this clash of football giants is one of the ages. The rematch gives A&M the chance to prove last year’s success wasn’t beginner’s luck. If the Aggies can walk away with a win, they may be propelled to the No. 1 spot in the polls. But Alabama is looking for a three-peat, and the first step in earning it, is taking down what they see as the only thing standing in their way, the Aggies.

 

No. 16 UCLA vs. No. 23 Nebraska

Despite coming off a 43-point win against Southern Miss, Nebraska dropped in the AP poll from No. 22 to No. 23. To the rest of the country the drop doesn’t seem terribly significant but to Cornhuskers fans, it’s a slap in the face after such a big win. This added motivation to prove themselves as a team worthy of a higher ranking might be good for Nebraska as they face UCLA. As has been shown in past games, Nebraska doesn’t play will with high levels of confidence. The game’s outcome could have a lot to do with how Nebraska’s season progresses.

 

Tennessee vs. No. 2 Oregon

In Week 2, the Volunteers were able to hold Western Kentucky’s explosive running offense and quarterback to 21 points, while managing to put up 52 of their own. Week 3 will likely be a far different story. Oregon clearly possesses a much more skilled offense and defense than the Hilltoppers, yet Tennessee won’t go down as easily as you may think. The Volunteers offense is shielded by one of the best offensive lines in the country and the confidence the defense gained will give Tennessee the early bump they need.

 

No. 4 Ohio St vs. California

Ohio State’s biggest star, quarterback Braxton Miller, left last Saturday’s game with a sprained left MCL. Although backup quarterback Kenny Guiton is likely enough to ensure a win against the Golden Bears, Miller still may make an appearance in the game. Wide receiver Corey Brown and a few other Buckeyes said that they would be surprised if Miller doesn’t play Saturday. If Miller’s participation exacerbates his knee injury, Ohio St could be sacrificing future success against more challenging opponents.

 

No. 20 Wisconsin vs. Arizona St

Thus far Wisconsin has faced relatively undemanding opponents. This game is their first true test and will likely foreshadow the potential of the rest of the Badgers season. If the Sun Devils can hold their own at the higher level of competition that the Badgers present, it will display their capability to successfully control the rest of the season. With relatively evenly matched defenses, this game will come down to a battle of the offenses: which can penetrate the strong defensive front most effectively?

No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 6 A&M

Obviously. It’s the most anticipated game of the season. How could you not watch? With Johnny Manziel constantly in the spotlight for his amazing athleticism (and amazing arrogance,) and Nick Saban coming off back-to-back national championship victories, this clash of football giants is one of the ages. The rematch gives A&M the chance to prove last year’s success wasn’t beginner’s luck. If the Aggies can walk away with a win, they may be propelled to the No. 1 spot in the polls. But Alabama is looking for a three-peat, and the first step in earning it, is taking down what they see as the only thing standing in their way, the Aggies.

 

No. 16 UCLA vs. No. 23 Nebraska

Despite coming off a 43-point win against Southern Miss, Nebraska dropped in the AP poll from No. 22 to No. 23. To the rest of the country the drop doesn’t seem terribly significant but to Cornhuskers fans, it’s a slap in the face after such a big win. This added motivation to prove themselves as a team worthy of a higher ranking might be good for Nebraska as they face UCLA. As has been shown in past games, Nebraska doesn’t play will with high levels of confidence. The game’s outcome could have a lot to do with how Nebraska’s season progresses.

 

Tennessee vs. No. 2 Oregon

In Week 2, the Volunteers were able to hold Western Kentucky’s explosive running offense and quarterback to 21 points, while managing to put up 52 of their own. Week 3 will likely be a far different story. Oregon clearly possesses a much more skilled offense and defense than the Hilltoppers, yet Tennessee won’t go down as easily as you may think. The Volunteers offense is shielded by one of the best offensive lines in the country and the confidence the defense gained will give Tennessee the early bump they need.

 

No. 4 Ohio St vs. California

Ohio State’s biggest star, quarterback Braxton Miller, left last Saturday’s game with a sprained left MCL. Although backup quarterback Kenny Guiton is likely enough to ensure a win against the Golden Bears, Miller still may make an appearance in the game. Wide receiver Corey Brown and a few other Buckeyes said that they would be surprised if Miller doesn’t play Saturday. If Miller’s participation exacerbates his knee injury, Ohio St could be sacrificing future success against more challenging opponents.

 

No. 20 Wisconsin vs. Arizona St

Thus far Wisconsin has faced relatively undemanding opponents. This game is their first true test and will likely foreshadow the potential of the rest of the Badgers season. If the Sun Devils can hold their own at the higher level of competition that the Badgers present, it will display their capability to successfully control the rest of the season. With relatively evenly matched defenses, this game will come down to a battle of the offenses: which can penetrate the strong defensive front most effectively?