Barnes hired as new YSU women’s coach
YOUNGSTOWN – John Barnes, who has won nearly 73 percent of the games he’s coached in during his 17 years at the collegiate level, has been selected to continue building the Youngstown State University women’s basketball program into a perennial contender in the Horizon League as its head coach.
Barnes, who will be introduced to the Youngstown community and media next week, is the seventh head coach in program history. The 40-year old comes to the Penguins after serving as associate head coach at Green Bay last season and spending the previous two seasons as an assistant in the Big Ten. He led Division II Michigan Tech to 156 wins and five appearances in the NCAA Tournament as the Huskies’ coach from 2003-10.
Barnes has been to the postseason 12 times in his 17 seasons as a college coach, including each of his three seasons at the Division I level. He has spent his entire collegiate career in the Midwest, and his teams have posted a winning record in all 17 of his seasons.
“Coach Barnes has an incredible track record of success as both a head coach and an assistant in our region,” Youngstown State Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Ron Strollo said. “He was outstanding at resurrecting Michigan Tech into a national powerhouse as its head coach, and he has worked for very successful head coaches at prominent programs at the Division I level. He has built recruiting relationships throughout the Midwest, and he is obviously familiar with the Horizon League from his time at Green Bay. We’re very excited to welcome coach Barnes to Youngstown State, and we look forward to him continuing to lead us toward the top of the conference.”
Most recently, Barnes was the associate head coach under Kevin Borseth at Green Bay as the Phoenix won the Horizon League regular season and tournament titles in 2012-13. Green Bay finished 29-2 and was ranked in the top 20 in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls. Barnes also coached with Borseth at Michigan in 2011-12 and helped lead the Wolverines to just their fourth 20-win season in school history and their first at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament in 11 years. Barnes helped lead Wisconsin to the second round of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament and a third-place finish in the Big Ten in 2010-11, which was his first coaching job at the Division I level.
Prior to joining Wisconsin’s staff, Barnes spent seven seasons leading one of the top Division II programs in the country at Michigan Tech. The Huskies went 156-55 in his seven campaigns, qualified for the NCAA Tournament five times and won the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament three times. Michigan Tech advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament in each of his last two seasons, and Barnes culminated his career by being named the WBCA Region Coach of the Year in 2009-10. The Huskies went 31-3 that season, setting school records for wins and winning percentage while being ranked No. 1 in the country for seven weeks. Barnes was named the GLIAC Coach of the Year in each of his final three seasons at Michigan Tech.
On the individual level, Barnes has a proven record as a recruiter and on-floor coach. He had a hand in signing Wisconsin’s Miss Basketball at Green Bay, Michigan’s Miss Basketball at Michigan and the Michigan Miss Basketball runner-up at Wisconsin. Barnes was in charge of coaching Green Bay’s defense that allowed 49 points per game, the second-fewest in the country. He worked primarily with the Wolverines’ post players while coordinating all scouting of opponents in his season in Ann Arbor, and he focused on offensive efficiency and player development in his year at Wisconsin. At Michigan Tech, Barnes recruited and developed the only First-Team All-American in school history, two GLIAC Players of the Year and two Academic All-Americans. The Huskies’ team grade-point average ranked in the top five nationally four times in his seven seasons.
Before becoming the head women’s coach at Michigan Tech, he spent six years on the men’s staff at the Houghton, Mich., campus as an assistant coach. Barnes played an integral role in building the men’s program into national prominence as the Huskies went 133-48 while winning the GLIAC North Division four times and making four NCAA Tournament appearances. In 2002-03, his final season on the men’s staff, Michigan Tech went 29-3 overall, captured GLIAC regular season and tournament titles and was ranked atop the national poll for a period.
Barnes was a four-year member of the men’s team at Michigan Tech from 1991-95 and earned a spot on the GLIAC All-Defensive Team as a senior. He got his start as a collegiate coach as an assistant at Lake Superior State in 1995-96, helping the Lakers win the GLIAC North Division. Barnes spent a year overseas serving as a player-coach for the St. Nicolai Basketball Club in Denmark in 1996-97 before starting his six-year stint at his alma mater.