“Once you’ve coached at this level,
you always think and look at the game from a coach’s perspective,” Barnett
said. “I’ve always watched the game from a critical
standpoint. You can see subtle changes other coaches make, things
that other people might not readily see. Assuming the role as
coach shouldn’t be a problem.”
Barnett admits there will be a slight learning curve in his
role as HPU’s athletic director, adjusting to the University
and learning about the school’s various athletic programs.
But after meeting with President Chatt G. Wright and Associate
Vice President for Administration E. Rick Stepien, Barnett
knew he wanted the job.
“I was impressed by the administration’s desire to continue expanding
the University’s profile and marketability, both in the community and abroad,” Barnett
said. "I look forward to being a part of that effort."
Barnett sees his duties as incoming AD as a combination of
administrator, teacher, and motivator. He wants to have a
positive impact on the lives of
student athletes and develop policies that effectively impact the school and
its athletic teams.
Barnett stresses the academic aspect of the student athlete
formula, stating, “They
are students first. Academics are stressed above all.” His philosophy
just empty rhetoric. During his five years as head basketball coach at Northwestern
State University, his teams had a 92 percent graduation rate. In fact, for
three consecutive years, the school’s Scholar Athlete of the Year came
from his program.
We had some really good kids from those teams,” Barnett recalled. “One
of them is now a physicist with NASA, the other two got into business.
very proud of them.”
Following his appointment, the school received calls from many
friends and former associates. Coach Larry Brown of the NBA Champion Detroit
Pistons stated that the Sea Warriors were “getting a heck of a head coach.”
Memphis Grizzlies Head Coach Hubie Brown has known Barnett
for over three decades and calls him “one of the most outstanding teachers of the game I have
ever come across.”
Portland Trailblazers Head Coach Maurice Cheeks remembered
Barnett as someone who was always available to the athletes, “I could always count on him
to be there,” Cheeks said.
Barnett has been widely regarded in the basketball world as
a superb teacher of the game and brilliant strategist. His
teaching impact should be immediately
apparent when the Sea Warriors begin play in late November.
We’re going to emphasize team defense, rebounding, and ball control,” said
Barnett. “Turnovers are missed opportunities, and we’re going to
work at minimizing them. We need to be able to control the flow of the game,
work the ball up and down the court, and get our shots. We need to stress patience
and play the game as a team, five guys playing as one unit.”