Reports: Texas fires Rick Barnes after 17 seasons

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Head coach Rick Barnes of the Texas Longhorns reacts in the second half against the Butler Bulldogs during the second round of the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament on March 19, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Head coach Rick Barnes of the Texas Longhorns reacts in the second half against the Butler Bulldogs during the second round of the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament on March 19, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The Rick Barnes era is reportedly over at Texas.

Multiple outlets are reporting that Barnes has been fired after 17 seasons with the program. Barnes, the winningest coach in Texas history, went 402-180 during his tenure and led the Longhorns to NCAA tournament appearances in 16 of his 17 seasons with the program, most recently losing to Butler in the first round last Thursday. The Longhorns also reached the Final Four in 2003 and made two Elite Eight experiences under Barnes.

According to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, athletic director Steve Patterson informed Barnes of the school’s decision to let him go.

The Austin American-Statesman is reporting that school officials “reached their final decision” on Saturday and “plan on making an announcement either Sunday or Monday.” Additionally, the school hopes to hire Barnes’ replacement “within a week,” per the Statesman.

The Statesman also reported that Patterson met with Barnes in person “at least twice” since the Butler loss and asked Barnes to make changes to his staff.

Goodman pointed toward VCU’s Shaka Smart and Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall as potential candidates. Marshall has also been connected to the opening at Alabama in the past week. NBC Sports’ Rob Dauster also named Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams as a potential candidate.

After a 24-11 campaign in 2013 (which earned Barnes a two-year contract extension), expectations were high for the Longhorns headed into this season. However, the team was plagued by inconsistent play and finished 20-14 overall and finished sixth in the Big 12 with an 8-10 conference record.

Barnes was the head coach at Clemson, Providence and George Mason before his time at Texas. He also served as an assistant at Ohio State, Alabama, George Mason and Davidson. 

According to NBC Sports, Barnes could be a candidate for the opening at Tennessee after Donnie Tyndall was fired on Friday. 

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Sam Cooper is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!