Rick Barnes (born July 17, 1954 in Hickory, North Carolina) is the current head coach of the University of Texas Longhorns men's basketball team. He has coached Texas for the last eight seasons, taking the team to the NCAA Tournament each year, including a Final Four appearance led by T.J. Ford in 2003. Barnes previously coached at George Mason University, Clemson University and Providence College. He is a 1977 graduate of Lenoir-Rhyne College.
Barnes' success at Texas has sparked interest in college basketball at the University, a traditional football powerhouse, and throughout the state of Texas. Hired in April 1998, the basketball program immediately displayed Barnes' impact. Despite playing with just seven scholarship players for the majority of the 1998-1999 season — and opening the season with a 3-8 record — the Longhorns won 16 of their final 21 games, winning the regular season Big 12 conference championship by a two-game margin, and finishing the year at 19-13 and in the NCAA Tournament.
Barnes has had great regular season success with 400+ wins and has transformed Texas into a one of the top college basketball programs in the nation. However, he has won only one post season conference tourney championship (Providence, 1994 Big East) in his 20 years as a collegiate head coach. Additionally, he has an overall losing record of 15-16 (.481) in the NCAA tournament (13-9 at Texas). In seven of his nine years at Texas, the Longhorns went on to lose to a lower seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Barnes shot down speculation that he would entertain leaving for the University of Kentucky’s vacant head coaching job after Kentucky's first choice, University of Florida head coach Billy Donovan, turned them down. The job eventually went to Texas A&M's head coach, Billy Gillispie.
Rick Barnes made a cameo in the NBC hit series Friday Night Lights as a recruiter for the fictional school TMU. When he was three years old, Barnes was playing with a pig on a family friend's farm and it bit off part of his left ear.