TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (August 11, 2017) – Eddie Barnes is now a two-time hall of famer.
Tallahassee Community College’s former men’s basketball coach, already a member of the FCSAA Men’s Basketball Hall of Fame, will be inducted into the Wiregrass Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday evening in Dothan, Ala.
Barnes grew up in Panama City, Fla., and ended his 40-year coaching career with the Eagles in 2015. In between, however, Dothan, Ala., was where Barnes, his wife, Judy, and children, Cason and Lindsey, called home – and that’s where he made some of his biggest marks on the hardwood.
“I was blown away,” Barnes said about learning of his hall of fame nod. “It’s one thing to be recognized by your peers but to be recognized by a community…I’m totally humbled by this.”
Barnes played collegiately at Wallace Community College-Dothan under fellow Wiregrass Hall of Famer Johnny Oppert and, after finishing his college career at the University of Montevallo, broke into the coaching ranks at Jemison (Ala.) High School in 1975. Four years later, he returned to the Wiregrass, where he spent the next 22 years.
Following successful stints at Cottonwood High School (1979-85) and Wicksburg High School (1985-91), Barnes succeeded Oppert at Wallace-Dothan. From 1991-2001, he recorded 195 victories, including an 80-79 win over Tallahassee on November 22, 1991, in the first NJCAA game ever played inside the Bill Hebrock Eagledome.
Barnes’ final season at Wallace-Dothan turned out to be his best, as the Governors captured the NJCAA Region 22 Championship en route to a 30-5 record and third-place finish in the NJCAA Division II Tournament. Two months later, on May 23, 2001, he was introduced as Mike Gillespie’s successor at Tallahassee and preceded to guide the Eagles to 274 wins over the next 14 seasons.
The highlight of Barnes’ Tallahassee tenure came in 2006.
First, he guided the Eagles to a share of the Panhandle Conference Championship then the school’s second FCSAA State Championship. The latter came in classic fashion – a 98-96, triple-overtime victory over Chipola College on the Indians’ home floor. Tallahassee eventually lost in the NJCAA Championship Game but ended the season with a 31-4 record to stake its claim as the best team in school history.
Barnes took Tallahassee back to Hutchinson, Kan., in 2011, where the Eagles advanced to the national quarterfinals.
He announced his retirement from coaching in October 2014 and, four months later, knocked off Gulf Coast State College in his final home game, the last of his 716 victories over 37 seasons as a head coach.
More than 60 of Barnes’ Tallahassee student-athletes continued their academic and athletic careers at the four-year level. The most well-known being Bernard James, who led Florida State to the 2012 ACC Tournament Championship and was later selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers in that year’s NBA Draft. James was later traded to the Dallas Mavericks and played three seasons (2012-15).