Rick Byrd doesn’t plan on changing jobs — ever again.
Now that his alma mater, Tennessee, has filled its men’s basketball coach opening with the hiring of Cuonzo Martin, the 57-year-old Byrd plans to ride out his coaching career at Belmont.
“I think I’m done,” Byrd said about pursuing other jobs. “As long as Belmont will have me and as long as I want to coach, this is where I will be. I think that is kind of a period of your life. I don’t know if there is a drop-dead rate where you start a new job or an age, but for me I think I’ve reached the point where I am going to finish my career coaching Belmont. And I’m lucky to do it.”
Byrd just wrapped up his 25th season as Belmont’s men’s basketball coach as he guided the Bruins to their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in six years.
His career record is 610-333 in 30 years, two at Maryville College and three at Lincoln Memorial. He has 518 victories at Belmont, which makes him one of five active coaches with more than 500 victories at the same school.
Byrd’s success at the 5,000-plus-student university out of the Atlantic Sun Conference, including a 30-5 record and 19-1 conference mark in 2010-11, reportedly was enough for Tennessee to contact him.
According to the Knoxville News-Sentinel, Byrd interviewed for the Vols’ vacancy.
Byrd would not confirm or deny the report when reached on Saturday, a day before UT announced the hiring of Martin, who has been Missouri State’s coach for the last three years. Byrd, a Knoxville native, was in Indianapolis over the weekend watching Belmont signee Spencer Turner lead Bloomington South to its second Class 4A state championship in three years.
Likewise, he would not say if he would have taken the Tennessee job if offered.
“You never know the answer. That is an easy cop-out but you never know the answer until it is a reality,” Byrd said. “You make those decisions when they get there. I have said a bunch of times, at least for me — I don’t know about other people — that it is a gut feeling more than an intellectual choice.
"... You are really lucky when you find a job that I enjoy as much as I do and have with the one at Belmont. Some guys have to have a job and they really want a job and they don’t like the one they are in. They agonize over these things. I haven’t spent any time with any anxiety about any jobs because of the one that I have.”