Surprising SEC Basketball Coach on the Hot Seat Heading into 2025?

Find out which SEC coach is on the hot seat heading into 2025 pending a strong performance in the NCAA Tournament this year.

SEC Men's Basketball Championship : Mississippi State Bulldogs v Tennessee Volunteers
SEC Men's Basketball Championship : Mississippi State Bulldogs v Tennessee Volunteers / Chris Graythen/GettyImages

Tennessee Volunteers head coach, Rick Barnes has made the NCAA Tournament 28 times in his 37 years of coaching, including six of the last seven years he has been the lead man for the Vols.

Those may seem like stats that would keep someone at a school forever if they wanted to be. However, there is more to it with Barnes.

Rick Barnes' Early Round NCAA Tournament Stats Explained

In those 28 NCAA Tournament appearances, Barnes’ teams have been eliminated in the first or second round 19 times, which equates to 67%.

In most of those seasons between the four teams Barnes has led to the tournament, they have been the higher seed as well.

This history does not bode well for the Vols who have big hopes this year as a number two seed that will be taking on the St. Peters Peacocks in the first round.

While the Vols hope to, and should get past St. Peter’s, history says trouble will ensue in the second round at the latest for Barnes.

How Rick Barnes has fared in the NCAA Tournament at Tennessee

During his time at Tennessee, Barnes’ teams have been a first or second round exit three times so far, and only made it to the sweet 6 in the other two seasons.

According to an article by , Barnes is the second highest paid coach in the SEC in 2024 at $5.5 million.

A school that is paying that kind of money to their coach expects a performance better than the sweet 16 at least once in a while, right? Well, time will have to tell.

But the way I see it, do not expect Barnes to stay off of the hot seat if he does not advance to the elite eight this year.

This is not only due to his history of not being able to perform in March Madness, but this year he also has the SEC player of the year in Dalton Knecht , along with the fact that the Vols won the regular season title in the SEC.

Just like when Barnes coached the Texas Longhorns, patience wears thin for any fan base and athletic department after a while. And Barnes is about at that threshold with the Vols where it is put up or shut up.