AUSTIN, Texas

- An emotional Rick Barnes fought back tears in saying goodbye to Texas after 17 years yesterday, insisting he's grateful for his time there and isn't bitter about being fired as coach of the Longhorns.

"The wins and losses are fleeting, but it's the relationships that matter," Barnes said at a 40-minute farewell news conference. "We know as a coach, this whole thing is about players. We've been blessed as a staff here to have so many players who have affected our lives."

But Barnes also revealed that he had been told by athletic director Steve Patterson that he would be back for another season after Texas lost to Butler in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

"Some things changed," Barnes said.

Barnes confirmed Patterson told him a few days ago he had to fire staff or be fired himself. That ultimatum was leaked to the media Thursday, publicly turning up the pressure on Barnes and his assistants. Barnes blamed the leaks on the athletic department but didn't name any individuals behind them.

Barnes said his staff offered to quit but he refused to let them.

Barnes, 60, said he would like to coach again but didn't say where. His Longhorns teams reached the NCAA Tournament 16 times and he won three Big 12 titles. Barnes won 402 games at Texas, the most in school history. Texas made the Final Four in 2003 for first time in more than 50 years.

In other news:

* St. John's has offered its vacant job to former star player Chris Mullin, ESPN reported. Mullin starred at St. John's, three times winning Big East Player of the Year.