Barnes, Ex-Red Bank QB, Gets First Head Football Job At Soddy-Daisy

Had Three stops At Georgia Schools Before Landing Trojans Position

Friday, February 1, 2013 - by Larry Fleming

Justin Barnes, former Red Bank High School quarterback, has been named head football coach at Soddy-Daisy, succeeding Kevin Orr.

Barnes comes to Soddy-Daisy after eight years as an assistant coach at three different Georgia high schools – Central Gwinnett (2005), Oconee County (2006-11) and Dacula (2012). Barnes was the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach at Oconee, located in Watkinsville, Ga.

At Dacula, Barnes served as wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator. Under head coach Jared Zito, the Falcons went 1-9 this past season. In his one year at Central Gwinnett, the Black Knights went 9-4 and lost to eventual Class 5A state champion Lowndes, 38-0, in the playoff quarterfinals.

Now, Barnes, 32, has returned to familiar turf in Hamilton County.

“Obviously, I know a lot about Soddy-Daisy,” Barnes said in a telephone interview Friday morning. “My parents are still up there, five minutes from the school. Jared Hensley, their baseball coach, and I have been friends for ages. Jimmy Higgins, the wrestling coach, I’ve known him forever.

“And, all through the interview process I was blown away by the pure passion for the school and visions of (principal) John Maynard and (athletic director) Steve Henry about where they want to take the football program. They fired me up and I’m honored to be the Soddy-Daisy football coach and very excited about the opportunity before me.”

Barnes grew up in Falling Water and attended Soddy-Daisy Middle School before enrolling at Red Bank High School so he could play football with cousins Pat and Ryan McGinnis from 1995-99.

He was a three-year starter for the Lions and was selected the Region 8-5A Quarterback of the Year in 1997. Barnes also was a two-time All-City pick.

Barnes signed a football scholarship with UT-Chattanooga and was with the Mocs from 1999-02. He served as a student assistant, helping coach tight ends, from April 2003 to December 2004

A two-time letter-winner at UTC, Barnes started “five or six” games his sophomore and junior seasons, once tying school and Southern Conference records with six touchdown passes in a game.

He quickly rose to the top of Soddy-Daisy’s shopping list.

“We had more applicants than I could count,” Maynard said, “but we narrowed them down to 15 serious candidates. We whittled that list to two and then got our coach. We’ve known this for a while, but had to get through a bunch of (Human Resource) stuff. The process takes time to get through and choose who you hope is the right person, and I think we have that person.”

The two finalists – Soddy-Daisy graduate Tom Elliott was the second – were brought in for a second round of interviews before a final decision was made.

“Through the whole thing it kept coming to the top that Justin had great character,” Maynard said. “The high school coach he worked for and that school’s athletic director both felt like Justin was ready to become a head coach. His organizational skills came through real strong, and that was impressive. And, he had a real willingness to come to Soddy-Daisy and take over this program.

“He worked hard to get the job.”

Barnes considers himself an offense-minded coach, but was exposed to defense while at Oconee County High. While there, Barnes, and the other assistants, had primary and secondary coaching duties. So, he coached quarterbacks and helped with defensive backs.

“But, I’m definitely an offensive guy,” said Barnes, who hopes to take over his duties at Soddy-Daisy by Feb. 11 and start preparing for spring practice in May. “That’s my mind-set.”

Barnes will use the spread offense at Soddy-Daisy, using a base package that he’s used for several years with the ability to tweak the scheme toward the Soddy-Daisy players’ skill-set.

“I don’t want to get totally out of our scheme, but there are ways to adapt to the players we have, and I haven’t seen much film and don’t know exactly what we do have,” he said. “If we have a great quarterback and good receivers, we’ll throw it a lot more. If we have a young quarterback and don’t want to put a lot of pressure on him, we may be more like Auburn and Clemson and use more of a power game.”

Barnes is well aware of the Trojans’ struggles the past few years, but neither Maynard nor Henry were concentrating on the past during the selection process, and that turned out to be another selling point for the program.

“I know they’ve been through some tough times,” Barnes said. “But all during the process, those guys up there didn’t focus on what’s wrong. They focused on how I would like to run things, how we will work together and we’re all looking ahead.

“I want our program to be No. 1 in everything in not just the county but state. I want Soddy-Daisy to be the envy of the county with our success. That’s what we’ll all work to do.”

Orr resigned in November after four years directing the Trojans’ football program. He had an 18-24 record with one winning season (7-5) in 2010. Soddy-Daisy reached the state playoffs that season for the first time in two years.

Under Orr, the Trojans went 5-5 in 2009, 4-6 in 2011 and 1-8 in 2012 while competing in District 5-AAA. The Trojans lost their final six games last season and finished 1-5 in last place in district play.

(E-mail Larry Fleming at larryfleming44@gmail.com)



Mocs Block Tailgate Highlights New Student Initiatives At Finley Stadium

Over the last three years, Finley Stadium has become one of the toughest places in the country for FCS opponents.  The Chattanooga Mocs are 15-3 overall, have won 12 straight Southern Conference games at home and led the league in attendance the last two seasons. A major part of this success has been the support from the UTC student body.  As a result, the Athletics ... (click for more)

Harrison's Hufstetler Fourth In State Senior Amateur

COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. -- Germantown's Tim Jackson shot 3-under 69 here Tuesday and took the lead in the 46th Tennessee Senior Amateur Championship. Jackson's Danny Green and Clarksville's Greg Guinn are tied for second at 1-under 71 after the first round. Knoxville's Jeff Golliher and Mitch Hufstetler from Harrison are tied for fourth. Chattanooga's Neil Spitalny took the ... (click for more)

Federal Judge Orders Walker County To Pay Erlanger $8,705,000, Plus Interest; Question Of Attorney Fees And Expenses To Go To Jury

Federal Judge Harold Murphy, in a 63-page ruling handed down Tuesday, ordered Walker County, Ga., to pay the Erlanger Health System $8,705,000, plus interest, on the Hutcheson Hospital debt. Judge Murphy, of Rome, Ga., said the question of attorney fees and expenses owed Erlanger by Walker County should be decided by a jury trial. Walker County and Catoosa County earlier agreed ... (click for more)

Pinkston Says Offer Was Made To Dismiss Lawsuit Against Him If Prosecution Of Detective Burns Was Dropped; Judge Greenholtz "Greatly Bothered" By Any Such Offer

District Attorney Neal Pinkston said at a hearing Tuesday that an offer was made to drop a lawsuit filed against him by Gatlinburg detective Rodney Burns if he would dismiss two perjury counts against Burns. The district attorney said he should not be disqualified from continuing to prosecute the case or else attorneys would begin suing him or the judge to get a new DA or trial ... (click for more)

Problems With The Proposed Apartments In Lookout Valley

I am deeply troubled at the way in which this proposal has been handled. The blatant disregard for the residents of Kelly's Ferry Road and the wishes of the Lookout Valley Area Plan (which was adopted by the city in 2003) by Chip Henderson and Tommy Austin amazes me. Yes, there was a meeting of the Lookout Valley Neighborhood association in August, but it wasn't on its normal ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Ooltewah & The Bullies

During the week of Christmas I got an email from a longtime friend at the Knoxville News-Sentinel that laughingly wondered what kind of basketball do you people play (in Chattanooga?) It included sketchy details of the rape, and subsequent surgery, of an Ooltewah High School basketball player who had been assaulted by his own teammates at a Gatlinburg holiday tournament. Today ... (click for more)