Duke Hires NC State Associate Brian Barnes as New Head Swim Coach

Duke’s newest head swimming and diving coach won’t have to go far to take his new role. In fact, he might not even have to move. The Blue Devils have hired current NC State associate head coach Brian Barnes as the team’s new head coach.

The two schools are only 21 miles apart in North Carolina’s research triangle.

Barnes has worked at NC State since August 2020.

This is Barnes’ 3rd stop in the ACC. He also served as the head coach of the Notre Dame women from 2008 to 2014 when that program was still separated. In total, Barnes coached 21 All-Americans, 168 all-conference citations, 45 conference event titles and 24 NCAA qualifications while at Notre Dame, and Emma Reaney won the 2014 NCAA Title in the 200 yard breaststroke. She was named the 2014 ACC Women’s Swimmer of the Year and set the NCAA and American Records in the event.

At Notre Dame, he was a three-time Big East Coach of the Year.

Barnes also spent two seasons as an assistant with the Purdue men and three seasons with the Auburn Tigers, including in 2006 and 2007, where the Tigers swept the NCAA Team Championships.

A native of Osceola, Ind., Barnes completed his collegiate swimming career at Indiana, where he was a seven-time All-American for the Hoosiers. He qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1992 and 1996 and was also a member of the USA Swimming National Team in 1989 and 1992. In addition to making a coaching stop at Kansas, he served as men’s assistant coach for his alma mater from 2002 to 2005.

Duke head coach Dan Colella died in December at 60 years old, with Doak Finch serving out the season as associate head coach. The Duke men were 10th and women 5th at the 2023 ACC Swimming & Diving Championships, and the women placed 21st at the NCAA Championships.

That effort included freshman Kaelyn Gridley and junior Sarah Foley, who became the first pair of Blue Devils to earn First Team All-America honors for Duke in swimming.

Foley placed 8th in the 200 IM and 9th in the 200 breast, while Gridley placed 10th in the 100 breast and 6th in the 200 breast. Both are expected to return for the Blue Devils next season.

Barns has two children, Jack and Caroline.

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4 days ago

GoDUKE! Hope he keeps the new assistant Ethan, great deck energy and the swimmers have been through enough coach losses this season.

10 days ago

Awesome hire! Brian is a good guy and a great swim coach. Best of luck to you!

12 days ago

Great hire! I wonder if he will evaluate the need for Connor Dorff to stick around Duke as a dive coach.

12 days ago

Great hire! Hope one of his first moves is evaluating the need for dive coach Connor Dorff to stick around at Duke

Last edited 12 days ago by divedad919
12 days ago

Brad Kline predicted this weeks ago!!!!

12 days ago

Unrelated, but I’ve heard that Lars at UK hasn’t been in deck in weeks and he backed out at speaking at the CSCAA. Hope everything is ok.

Douglass Wharrram Fan Club
Reply to  ArtVanDeLegh10
12 days ago

Wonder what his talk was about

Reply to  ArtVanDeLegh10
12 days ago

Heard lots of his swimmers have entered the portal.

Reply to  ArtVanDeLegh10
12 days ago

After helping at Toledo once he bailed I can assure you everything was and is now not ok. If ever deposed I’ll share my knowledge…and a mini DVD I found in the team video camera.

12 days ago

Thank you, coach. My child has really enjoyed swimming for you this year.
All the best to you and your family. Duke is lucky to have you!

ct swim fan
12 days ago

Braden must be doing something right. Isn’t this at least the 3rd assistant coach from NC State in the past 6-7 years to leave to be a head coach at another University? Guntoro, DeSorbo and now Barnes.

Reply to  ct swim fan
12 days ago

Braden is like the Sean McVay of NCAA swimming- anyone he sneezes on gets a head coach job

NC Fan
Reply to  ct swim fan
12 days ago

And Brandt Nigro at Army and Gary Taylor at Auburn. Gary didn’t work out so well, but he got the job, and he may be even better off now coaching Heilman at Cavalier for Todd

Reply to  ct swim fan
12 days ago

And Gary Taylor to Auburn (though that didn’t work out)

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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