Tennessee basketball head coach, Rick Barnes, will tell you how it is, and compliments don't come easy. But, there's a reason for that.
I think one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a player, as a coach, is to get comfortable," Barnes said. I don't want to look back and I don't want them to look back and say, 'boy I wish the coach and the coaching staff would have demanded more because to get where they want to go, it's very demanding."
Rick Barnes interview part one (mobile app users click here to view video)
"You mentioned 1,000 games, I'm now at the point in my life where I have players that are 50 years old that I still stay in touch with, and one of the highlights now in my life is when I talk to those guys and they reminisce about how hard i was back then and how much it helped them. "
His approach has worked, aside from the lifelong relationships, his teams have made 22 NCAA Tournament appearances, and in 20 years leading up to his time at Tennessee, he was only left out of the Big Dance once.
Rick Barnes interview part two (mobile app users click here to view video)
Barnes was a four- time Big 12 Coach of the Year during his time at Texas, but his time in Austin would come to an end after 17 years.
"I was fortunate to work for a tremendous AD for 15 years, but when the AD situation changed. I saw the way my AD was treating Mack Brown, and so the writing was on the wall. My wife was the first to say this isn't going to end the way we wanted it to end."
Rick Barnes interview part three: Leaving Texas (mobile app users click here to view video)
"When I walked out of that last meeting before the press conference I knew I was going to leave, get on a plane, and I was going to head to Knoxville, Tennessee. I do think God was in control of the whole thing."
Barnes knew he was taking over a program in need of a rebuild and stability, and for the first time in nearly 30 years, he found himself sitting at home during March for back-to-back seasons.
Rick Barnes interview part four: Building Tennessee (mobile app users click here to view video)
Now in his third year with the Vols, Barnes has built his best team yet, and the goal remains the same.
"We've always wanted to go to the tournament."
"With this group, we have created the culture that we wanted, and now we're still defining what is our identity."
Barnes believes the team can't be what they want to be unless John Fulkerson, Kyle Alexander, Chris Darrington, Jordan Bone, James Daniel, Jalen Johnson, and Yves Pons get better.
"Right now if you look at our season up to this point, Grant (Williams), Admiral (Schofield) and Jordan Bowden have been pretty stellar. Those other guys have been up and down."
"We can't be the team we want to be unless those guys do it. If we all do it, we've got as good a chance as anybody."
Barnes will coach his 1,000th game as a head coach when the Vols host Texas A&M at 6 p.m. on Saturday.