Rod Barnes Named To USA Men's World University Games Coaching Staff Monday

April 23, 2001

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Ole Miss men's basketball head coach Rod Barnes has been selected as an assistant coach for the 2001 USA Men's World University Games, USA Basketball announced Monday. Barnes will join Penn State's Jerry Dunn and Boston College's Al Skinner on the USA World University Games coaching staff. Dunn will serve as the squad's head coach, while Skinner will also be an assistant.

The last Rebel to represent the Ole Miss basketball program in the World University Games was Ansu Sesay in the summer of 1997 in Sicily, Italy. That 1997 USA squad won the gold medal with a perfect 6-0 mark.

"First of all, I would like to thank God for giving me another opportunity to coach this great game," said Barnes. "I am honored to be selected to the World University Games staff along with coach (Jerry) Dunn and coach (Al) Skinner. This is my first experience with USA Basketball, and I am thrilled with the chance not only to coach some of the nation's most talented players, but also to learn more about the game of basketball. This is a tremendous privilege for me, and I look forward to representing the United States, USA Basketball and the University of Mississippi at the World University Games this summer."

Accepting his first USA Basketball coaching assignment is Barnes, who, in three years (1999-2001) at the helm of the Rebel basketball program, has compiled an impressive 66-35 (.653) record.

After spending five years (1994-98) as an assistant on the sidelines of his alma mater, Barnes was elevated to the head coaching position in April of 1998. During his short tenure, Barnes amassed a trio of distinctive firsts at Ole Miss. He became the first in Southeastern Conference (SEC) history to claim Coach of the Year and All-SEC first team accolades, after earning all-conference honors as a player in 1988 and being lauded as coach of the year this past season, his 1999 NCAA Tournament first-round victory over Villanova was the first in Ole Miss history, and the 2001 NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearance was the furthest any Rebel team had ever advanced in the NCAA Tournament.

In 2000-01, the Barnes-led Rebels posted a 27-8 record, and won the SEC Western Division title with an 11-5 conference record after finishing the previous season last in the West Division and being picked to finish last in the 2000-01 preseason polls. Going from worst to first wasn't enough as Barnes then advanced the Rebels to the SEC Tournament finals, earned a No. 3 seed for the NCAA Tournament and led his team to the Sweet Sixteen. For his efforts, Barnes was not only selected SEC Coach of the Year by conference coaches, the Associated Press (AP), ESPN.com and CollegeInsider.com, the Atlanta Tip-Off Club bestowed the coveted 2001 Naismith Men's National Coach of the Year award upon him. Additionally, CollegeInsider.com selected Barnes as its National Coach of the Year and the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) named Barnes as its District 4 Coach of the Year.

The Rebels finished the 2000-01 season ranked No. 14 in the AP poll and No. 9 in the ESPN/USA Today poll. The No. 9 national ranking was the highest in Ole Miss basketball history.

In 1998-99, his inaugural season as a collegiate head coach, Barnes guided Ole Miss to a 20-13 overall record, 8-8 in the conference and finished third in the SEC West Division. Earning an at-large NCAA Tournament berth, Barnes was one of only three first-year head coaches in the 1999 NCAA Tournament and, in the process of coaching Ole Miss to its first NCAA victory in school history, became the only one of those three first-year coaches to advance to the second round of the 1999 Tournament. In his second season in 1999-2000, Barnes led Ole Miss to a 19- 14 overall record and an NIT berth. The Rebels advanced to the quarterfinals of the NIT.

While an assistant at Ole Miss, Barnes aided the Rebels to a 76-63 (.547) record, including a 42-16 (.724) mark in his final two seasons as an assistant. Additionally, Barnes helped Ole Miss to two SEC West Division crowns, a pair of 20-win seasons and two NCAA Tournament appearances, all in his final two years as an assistant in 1997 and 1998.

With a goal to keep the USA's 40-game winning streak alive and capture the United States' seventh consecutive World University Games gold medal, the trio of Dunn, Barnes and Skinner, each of whom recently completed arguably their most successful seasons to date, were selected by the USA Basketball Men's Collegiate Committee, chaired by University of Virginia athletic director Terry Holland. The selections are pending approval by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

The World University Games, held every two years and organized by the International University Sports Federation (FISU), is a multi-sport competition open to men and women between the ages of 17 and 28 (born between January 1, 1973 and December 31, 1983), who are, or have been within the past year, a student at a college or university. This summer, the World University Games will be held Aug. 22 - Sept. 1 in Beijing, China. The men's basketball competition, currently featuring collegiate teams from 28 countries, has been divided into eight preliminary round pools. Placed into Pool B, the United States will face Iran, South Africa and Turkey in preliminary round play.

The 2001 USA Basketball Men's National Team Trials, which will be used to select both the 2001 USA Men's World University Games Team and the 2001 FIBA World Championship for Young Men Team, will be held June 1-3 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Owning a 40-game winning streak at the World University Games and having captured six consecutive gold medals, the USA has been a dominating force at the WUGs since beginning play in 1965. The U.S. has earned an incredible 16 medals in as many appearances at the Games, including 12 golds, three silvers and one bronze, and lists an amazing 110-6 (.984 winning percentage) record at the event.

The United States has been sending teams to the World University Games since 1965, and since then, the World University Games has served as an important developmental event for the U.S.

2001 USA Men's World University Games Coaching Staff

Head Coach: Jerry Dunn, Penn State University

Assistant Coach: Rod Barnes, University of Mississippi

Assistant Coach: Al Skinner, Boston College

 

 

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