Tennessee Coach Rick Barnes Gives Glory To God After Winning SEC Championship

Photo from Tennessee Vol’s Basketball Instagram

Tennessee Coach Rick Barnes Gives Glory To God After Winning SEC Championship

By Movieguide® Staff

Led by seven-year head coach Rick Barnes, the Tennessee men’s basketball team won their first SEC Tournament since 1979.

In the SEC finals, the Volunteers defeated Texas A&M on March 13, 65-50.

“First of all, I thank God for the blessing of having this wonderful team with me and these great fans,” Barnes said on stage after their championship win. “Right now, all I can think about is, ‘They say it’s great to be a Tennessee Vol, they say it’s great to be a Tennessee Vol!’

“I just think it’s their moment,” Barnes said. “It’s their time to get the trophy. It’s their time to cut down the nets. They came to Tennessee to help us make it a special place. They’ve done that. It’s truly their time.”

Over his seven-year tenure, Barnes helped the Volunteers reach multiple NCAA Tournaments and won the Naismith Coach of the Year award in 2019.

“We said for us to move forward, we’re going to have to have great leadership because we’ve always been a team that practices hard and [has] done all those types of things, but in the game, watching [our players] take over, talk, communicate, it’s been fun,” Barnes credited his players.

“But that’s where it started, a year ago, with them deciding that, ‘Hey, the leadership really had to come from within.’ And we’ve gotten it. … The good Lord has blessed me in so many ways, and having the chance to be with this group has been special,” he added.

In Sports Spectrum’s “Table Forty” podcast, Barnes opened about his faith and how he has made that a focus in his coaching style in recent years.

“I’m just thankful that God, you know, He won’t let go of you,” Barnes said. “I don’t think there’s any question He had me when I was young, but I let the world take me down a road and roads that I shouldn’t have gone. But I believe that once He gets a hold of you, He won’t let you go. I think He has great plans to help me become more and more like Him every day.”

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