Dave Hart on Rick Barnes, Tennessee basketball

Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart was a guest on Sports Talk with John and Jimmy on Monday afternoon. While on the show, Hart touched on Tennessee basketball after one season with Rick Barnes as head coach.

Full response from Hart:

 “First of all I feel very strongly about Rick and who he is as a person. I think he’s a wonderful fit. I think most of our fans would acknowledge that same sentiment. The guy can coach; he’s a tireless worker.

“And certainly we played with a bit of a short stick, particularly after Kevin Punter … went down with his injury. I thought our team, the one consistent element they showed — and the one element that kept our fans coming back — was that they were going to play extremely hard.

“We had some really good wins, some really surprising wins, and we had some disappointing losses where at the end of the game we didn’t finish the game, and those types of things.

“I think all in all, when you look at the reality of where we are — third coach in three years, transitional issues that existed — I think finally we have stability. It’s been a while to get to that point relative to basketball in particular. We had a lot of instability four to five years ago. I think now we have stability and I think Rick Barnes is the right person to take us forward.

“I’m very, very excited that Rick Barnes is our basketball coach.”

Full audio from the 18-minute interview can be found here

Grant Ramey covers Tennessee men’s basketball for the Knoxville New Sentinel. Follow him on twitter @GrantRamey