Friday, July 12, 2024

Tennessee basketball announces trio of promotions on coaching staff

 Tennessee basketball announced a trio of promotions on Rick Barnes’ coaching staff to keep the Vols’ entire coaching staff intact for a second-straight offseason.

Three coaching staff promotions were announced by Tennessee basketball on Wednesday morning.Riley Collins has been appointed assistant director of player development, and Lucas Campbell and Bryan Lentz have been elevated to assistant coaches.The NCAA allowed in July 2023 for the basketball teams to have three full-time assistants, two extra assistant coaches, a director of basketball operations, and graduate assistants. As a result, the Vols currently have five assistant coaches.Over the previous three seasons, UT’s trio of assistant coaches has included Justin Gainey, Rod Clark, and Gregg Polinsky.

Campbell is entering the third year of his second stint on Rick Barnes’ staff. This will be his ninth season with the program dating back to 2015-16, good for all but one in Barnes’ tenure. Campbell was a walk-on for the Vols from 2015-19, Barnes’ first four years at the helm. He then served as a graduate assistant from 2019-21 before serving as the director of basketball operations at East Tennessee State University.

The Knoxville native returned to his alma mater in June 2022 as the director of recruiting, a role in which he has served the past two seasons. He has coordinated all aspects of Tennessee’s recruiting efforts, ranging from logistical elements of on-campus visits to coach travel and beyond.

“Over nearly a decade, I have seen Lucas grow from an eager walk-on freshman my first season here at Tennessee into now a rising star in the coaching profession,” Barnes said in a statement. “This school and this basketball program mean so much to Lucas. He has been a key part of our staff over the past two years and has played a major role in our strong recruiting efforts, which he will continue to do while taking on additional responsibilities he is assuredly ready for.”

Lentz is entering his seventh season at Tennessee. He served as the Volunteers’ director of player development for the last six years. Lentz also worked for Barnes at Texas as the special assistant/video coordinator for four years.

“Bryan has a strong basketball mind and possesses nearly a quarter-century of coaching experience,” Barnes said. “His passion for assisting the young men in our program become the absolute best they can be, both on and off the court, is unrivaled. We have shared a great deal of success together, both during his first six seasons at Tennessee and previously at Texas, and I know he will help our program continue its upward trajectory in his new role.”

Collins is entering his third season at Tennessee after working as a graduate assistant in both 2022-23 and 2023-24. He is a graduate of Drew University, where he set a school record with 1,973 points and earned 2020 Reese’s All-America status. He was a four-time First Team All-Landmark Conference designee and a three-time team captain.

“From the first day he arrived at Tennessee, Riley has made his presence felt within our facility,” Barnes said. “He is a tireless worker who gives this program everything he can each day. After seeing all the ways Riley aided our program over the previous two years, it was obvious he deserved a full-time job, and I’m happy he took that chance.”

Tennessee has all of its full-time employees on board going into the 2024–25 campaign. The Vols have not lost a staff member in the offseason for the second straight year.

Barnes’ coaching crew is completed by Scott Daughtry, David Kasanganay, and Luke Schapker. As Tennessee’s Director of Video and Analytics, Schapker is about to begin his eighth season, and Kasanganay is about to begin his second season as a graduate assistant. Daughtry worked as a manager from April 2021 to December 2023 before receiving a promotion to graduate assistant in January 2024.