Fans offer freebies for Coach Barnes to stay

Local News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – An announcement came late Monday night that Rick Barnes is staying here on Rocky Top instead of leaving for the bright lights of LA, but not before fans and businesses tried to sweeten the deal.

Businesses and restaurants offering special incentives to the coach, dishing out offers and doing what they could to try and sway the head basketball coach to stay here in Knoxville. 

We wanted to go back and see what a day in the life of Rick Barnes may now look like with these added freebies.

Let’s start with breakfast. How about an order of one of the most popular items on the Scrambled Jake’s menu: Cinnamon rolls. 

After all, for Coach Rick Barnes, they are now free for life.

“We just wanted to be a part of all the people that wanted him to stay here in Knoxville,” said Stacy Combs. “We’ll keep the promise. Definitely. We’re just happy he’s staying.”

Getting hungry for lunch, yet? How’s pizza at Hard Knox Pizzeria sound? 

“I offered free pizza for him and his family for life if he stays. We love Coach Barnes he’s a regular here. I wanted to do whatever we could to keep Coach Barnes within our community,” Alexa Sponcia. 

The restaurant even offering “The Barnestormer” a pizza named after the head basketball coach himself.

But it is Taco Tuesday, so maybe Barnes can round out the day with an order from Chivo, with tacos coming to him free for the next year.

“We’re excited and the offer still stands,” said Jerry Wilkerson.

In between practice and coaching, let’s squeeze in some fun.

Free Smokies tickets as well as Knoxville Ice Bears tickets are now heading his way. 

And each of the businesses we talked to, making it clear, they’re big Barnes supporters – and happy he’s here to stay.

“I’m so excited. I’m so pumped. Coach Barnes is a big deal in this community. Not just basketball, I think he’s a big deal as far as what he does for the community and who he is,” said Sponcia.

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