New Vols coach Rick Barnes outside of Thompson-Boling Arena with a basketball

Fall 2015 Editor’s Message

Rick Barnes, new men’s basketball coach at UT Knoxville, is pictured above in front of his home court, Thompson-Boling Arena. Barnes’ arrival is a homecoming of sorts. His wife, Candy, graduated from UT Knoxville, and he has visited the campus many times over the last 40 years. Photo by Adam Brimer.

This issue of the Tennessee Alumnus showcases elements of the home and garden using UT alumni and faculty as experts in areas such as architecture, interior design, plants and hospitality. We hope you will be impressed by the wide array of knowledge within the UT community.

Someone who knows a great deal about new homes and the concept of coming home is UT Knoxville’s new men’s basketball coach, Rick Barnes. He and his wife, Candy, have moved at least nine times. It is a homecoming for Candy Barnes, who graduated from UT Knoxville, and for the coach, who has often recalled days when he visited her while she was a student. And Knoxville is closer to his hometown of Hickory, North Carolina, than the other UT where he was previously.

Earlier this summer, Barnes was still moving into his office in Thompson-Boling Arena but had one important decoration already up on the wall. Above a flat-screen TV was the orange Tennessee state-shaped sign that reads: “I will give my all for Tennessee today!” Most people recognize it from the sign that football players slap before they run on the field.

When asked his thoughts on what makes a home-court advantage, he said: “A real home court makes a difference year-round, not just the hours of competition. …You know you are not in it alone. You know there are people walking the same walk with you. The home court is just that— (pointing to the sign)—when everyone is giving their all for Tennessee.”

Certainly, there is great comfort in home, whether it’s new or familiar. With finding a new home so many times, Barnes knows how to handle all the moving. Basketball makes him feel more at home. Now it’s his job to make his players and fans feel at home when they come watch a game.

“If I were a parent of a student thinking about the university, I would just walk out on my own around town, and I’d ask people (to) tell me about this place,” Barnes says. “You’d like for them to say not just sports and athletics but academics. We have a great home court in every area.”

After reading this issue, we hope you agree that the University of Tennessee is a great home for creativity in all areas of education, research and outreach.

Elizabeth A. Davis (Knoxville ’96) served as editor of the Tennessee Alumnus from 2012 to 2015.