Just four weeks before Tennessee basketball faces Texas in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, the Longhorns fired Chris Beard. This move comes nearly a month after Beard was arrested for a felony domestic family violence charge.
According to Jeff Borzello of ESPN, associate head coach Rodney Terry will lead the team through the remainder of the season. He has been leading them ever since the incident came to light.
That means that when Tennessee basketball goes against the Longhorns, Rick Barnes will be facing a former assistant. In fact, he will be facing one of his most long-term assistants.
Terry coached under Barnes with Texas from 2002 to 2011. He was there in Barnes’ only trip to the Final Four and when he coached Kevin Durant. That success led him to taking over the Fresno State Bulldogs in 2011.
After seven years there and a trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2016, Terry took over the UTEP Miners in 2018. He was there for three years before leaving to join Beard’s staff.
Since taking over for Beard, Terry has led Texas to a 5-1 record. They remain in the top 10 and have wins over the Stanford Cardinal and the Oklahoma Sooners on the road.
Simply put, with Terry taking over, this team is still dangerous, and he’s very familiar with Barnes. That’s a lot of pressure given the fact that the Vols want revenge for last year’s loss to Texas.
The good news for Tennessee basketball is that Texas still has to travel to Rocky Top this year, but as Terry showed at OU, he’s capable of winning on the road. This could still be a hard-fought matchup.
Of course, both teams have lots of games before then. Texas did most recently lose to the Kansas State Wildcats, but we’ll have to see how they perform with this behind them now.