KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee coach Rick Barnes will be back with the Volunteers next season.

Volunteers athletic director Phillip Fulmer issued a statement Monday night saying "I'm thrilled that (Barnes) will remain a part of our Tennessee Athletics family." The statement came after reports that linked Barnes to the coaching vacancy at UCLA.

Fulmer's statement didn't specifically mention UCLA but noted that "one of the nation's most tradition-rich college basketball programs identified what we here at Tennessee already knew — that Rick Barnes is one of the game's elite coaches and a program changer."

Barnes has gone 88-50 in four seasons at Tennessee. Tennessee went 31-6 this year with an NCAA regional semifinal loss to Purdue.

Fulmer said Tennessee's leadership "stepped up to show Rick how much he is valued and appreciated" without offering further details. Barnes' contract called for him to make $3.25 million this season.


More AP college basketball: and