Eddie Barnes retired from Tallahassee Community College as the Dean of Panhandle Conference basketball coaches. After announcing his retirement October 2, 2014, the 2014-15 campaign was Barnes' 14th and final season at the helm of the Eagles' men's basketball program and his 24th season overall as a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) head coach.
Introduced as head coach at Tallahassee on May 23, 2001, Barnes is the third man to lead the Eagles' basketball program, joining Mike Martin (1970-71) and Mike Gillespie (1990-2001). Prior to his head coaching post with the Eagles, the Panama City, Fla., native spent ten years at Wallace Community College in Dothan, Ala., where he was the head coach from 1991-2001. In fact, during his first season at Wallace-Dothan, Barnes and the Governors scored an 80-79 upset over Tallahassee on November 22, 1991, in the first NJCAA game ever played at the Bill Hebrock Eagledome.
Following an 18-11 record in his final season, Barnes' win-loss record at Tallahassee concluded at 274-144. Combined with his stint at Wallace-Dothan, his overall NJCAA coaching record is an impressive 469-254 (.649 pct.). Prior to the 2014-15 season, he ranked 18th among active NJCAA coaches and first among his peers in NJCAA Region 8, also known as the Florida College System Activities Association (FCSAA) in career victories. His is also one of the NJCAA's Top 100 All-Time Winningest Coaches (83rd prior to the 2014-15 season).
In 13 years as a coach in the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA), Barnes accumulated a record of 247-121 - for a 37-year total of 716-374.
During "March Madness," Barnes has posted a 12-6 record with the Eagles. In both his 14 seasons at Tallahassee and 24 overall as an NJCAA head coach, Barnes has averaged 20 wins per season.
The 2010-11 season included a pair of milestone victories and a surprising run to the NJCAA Region 8/FCSAA Championship. During the regular season, Barnes picked up his 200th win at Tallahassee on December 31, 2010, in the Eagles' 69-56 win over Shelton State (Ala.) Community College. On February 8, 2011, Tallahassee defeated Gulf Coast State College, 75-60, to give Barnes his 400th career NJCAA victory.
Despite a roster that included only one player from his 2010 team that finished as NJCAA Region VIII/FCSAA Runners-up, Barnes guided the Eagles to a second straight postseason berth - the fifth such appearance for Tallahassee with Barnes at the helm (2002, 2006, 2007, 2010) and his 12th trip to "March Madness" as an NJCAA head coach. Tallahassee preceded to knock off a trio of conference champions, culminating with a 61-52 win over arch-rival and Panhandle Conference Champion Chipola College to capture the NJCAA Region VIII and FCSAA championships, as well as the accompanying berth to the NJCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament.
Tallahassee advanced to the quarterfinals at the NJCAA Tournament before ending its season with a record of 26-10, the Eagles' second-highest win total during Barnes' tenure. For his efforts, Barnes was named Panhandle Conference Coach of the Year by the league's media, as well as FCSAA and NJCAA District VIII Coach of the Year.
A 1971 graduate of Rutherford High School in Panama City, Fla., Barnes went on to receive his associate’s degree at Wallace Community College in Dothan, Ala., where he also played basketball from 1971-73. He then completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Montevallo.
Barnes began his coaching career in 1975 at Jemison (Ala.) High School. His next stop was his first—but not last— on the collegiate level, as he returned to his alma mater, accepting an assistant coaching position with Montevallo. After three seasons on the Falcons’ bench, Barnes returned to Alabama’s high school ranks, where he had successful stints at both Cottonwood High School and Wicksburg High School.
Prior to the 1991-92 season, Barnes was called upon to take the reigns at Wallace-Dothan. It was during his ten-year stint with the Governors that he built his reputation as one of the NJCAA’s finest coaches. While at Wallace-Dothan, Barnes coached the Governors to five Alabama Junior and Community College Conference (AJCCC) Division Championships and seven appearances in the NJCAA Region 22 Tournament, including six straight from 1996-2001. Winning over 63 percent of his games, Barnes compiled a 195-110 record with the Governors, recording at least 21 wins in each of his final five seasons. His tenure at Wallace-Dothan also provided him with the unique opportunity of coaching his son, Cason.
His final season at Wallace-Dothan turned out to be his best, as the Governors captured the AJCCC/NJCAA Region 22 Championship. From there, they brought home a third-place finish in the NJCAA Division II Tournament, finishing with a record of 30-5. Following the season, Barnes was named the NJCAA District 22 Coach of Year for the fifth time (’92, ’96, ’97, ’00) and was also one of five finalists for NJCAA Coach of the Year.
During his first season at Tallahassee, he recorded the 200th victory of his NJCAA coaching career when the Eagles defeated Shelton State, 85-82, on November 22, 2001. He also took a seventh straight team to the postseason as Tallahassee qualified for the NJCAA Region VIII/FCSAA Tournament as Panhandle Conference Runners-up en route to the school’s eleventh straight 20-win season. On February 11, 2004, he reached the 250-win plateau with a 74-55 win over Gulf Coast State. During the 2004-05 season, Barnes was reunited with his son, Cason, who joined the Eagles' coaching staff and later earned his first head coaching position at one of the elder Barnes’ former stops, Cottonwood High School.
Tallahassee's 2005-06 season was one for the ages. After guiding the Eagles to a share of the Panhandle Conference Championship, Barnes was named Co-PC Coach of the Year. At the NJCAA Region VIII/FCSAA Tournament, he recorded his 100th victory at Tallahassee with a 73-61 win over the College of Central Florida on March 8, 2006. Three days later, he and the Eagles celebrated an NJCAA Region VIII/FCSAA Championship with a 98-96 triple-overtime win over Chipola. That victory enabled Barnes to join a select group of coaches who have led teams to region championships on both the NJCAA Division I and Division II levels. His efforts also garnered him FCSAA and NJCAA District VIII Coach of the Year honors. At the NJCAA Tournament, the Eagles’ 81-65 win over Iowa Western Community College not only propelled Tallahassee into the championship game for the first time, but was also career NJCAA win No. 300. Though the Eagles came up short in the NJCAA Championship Game, Barnes was recognized by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) as the Junior College Coach of the Year.
In May 2007, Barnes was recognized by his alma mater when the University of Montevallo named him the recipient of the prestigious Leon G. Davis Award. The award, bestowed annually upon a former University of Montevallo athlete who has distinguished himself through personal achievements and community service, is given in honor of Davis, former Director of Athletics, basketball coach and golf coach at Montevallo.
Equally impressive as Barnes’ win-loss record is the number of players who have moved on to the next level. To date, 60 of Barnes’ Tallahassee student-athletes have continued their athletic and academic careers at a four-year college or university. During the 2004 NCAA Tournament, a pair of his former players squared off against one another when Moses White and Earl Nurse led Florida A&M University and Lehigh University, respectively, into the tournament’s Opening Round game. In eleven years with the Eagles, Barnes has coached six All-FCSAA players (Marcus Johnson ‘02, Steve Cherry ‘04, Abdullahi Kuso ‘06, Dustin Scott ‘07, Bernard James '10, Marvell Waithe '10). Additionally, 67 of his players have been named to various All-Panhandle Conference teams, including 32 first-team selections.
In June 2012, one of Barnes' former players, Bernard James, was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round of the NBA Draft. James was later traded to the Dallas Mavericks.
Barnes has chaired the Panhandle Conference men’s basketball coaches, while also serving as men’s basketball state chair for the FCSAA. He is an active member of the both the NABC and the NJCAA Basketball Coaches Association.
In 2015, he was voted into the FCSAA Men's Basketball Coaches' Hall of Fame.
Barnes and his wife, Judy, have two children. Their son, Cason, and wife, Karen, live in Alexandria, Va. Their daughter, Lindsey, and husband, Tim, reside in Tallahassee and are the parents’ of the Barnes’ first grandchild, 6-year old daughter, Payton.