The game of coaching musical chairs continues through another round as we open up the 2018-2018 season. Purdue Men’s Head Coach Dan Ross announced today that Brian Barnes, longtime head coach of the Notre Dame women’s team, will join the Boilermakers as an assistant coach.
Barnes will replace Jeremy “J.” Agnew, who was hired earlier this month as the head coach of the newly-combined Ball State program after over a decade at Purdue.
Barnes brings over 20 years of coaching experience to Purdue, from high school teams to his seven year stint at Notre Dame, where, among other accomplishments, he coached Emma Reaney as she became the first NCAA swimming champion in Notre Dame history. He resigned from his position at Notre Dame immediately prior to the start of the 2014-2015 season in order to spend more time with his family, and most recently, has worked with Carmel Swim Club in Indiana for the past year.
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Barnes was a three-time Big East Coach of the Year as the leader of the Notre Dame women’s program from 2008 to 2014. As an assistant coach at Auburn for three seasons, he helped the Tigers sweep the men’s and women’s NCAA team titles in 2006 and 2007. The Indiana University alumnus also served as a men’s assistant coach with the Hoosiers (2002-05).
Since April 2017, Barnes has been an assistant coach with the Carmel Swim Club, one of the premier clubs in the Midwest. He worked with swimmers of all ages from 5 to 21, serving as a senior 1 lead and challenge 3 lead. He also has club experience as the head coach of the Lawrence Aquahawks (1998-02) and Michigan Marlins (1996-97).
“I want to thank the entire Purdue swimming & diving family for this opportunity,” Barnes said. “I know there’s an opportunity for me to be highly successful here. The family atmosphere is real at Purdue. Dan and I are aligned in every way on what’s important in the development of young men. The thought of teaming up with Dan and Adam Soldati, while sharing the pool deck with John Klinge and Erica Beine, made it an easy decision based on the relationships I’ve had with them.”
“The last four weeks have been a whirlwind with J. Agnew’s departure to become the head coach at Ball State,” Ross said. “Our search for J’s replacement yielded an incredible candidate pool, but one name stood out and that was Brian. The cosmic tumblers clicked in place and afforded us the opportunity to hire such an incredible coach with an amazing pedigree of coaching and working with some of the all-time great coaches in this country. He’s the father of two amazing young children in Jack and Caroline. I welcome Brian to the Purdue family as a co-coach. Our team is in for a great experience from a great coach and man.”
At Notre Dame, Barnes coached Emma Reaney to the 2014 NCAA title in the 200-yard breaststroke. Reaney became Notre Dame’s first NCAA champion in the pool, establishing NCAA and American record times while winning her national title. The Fighting Irish women won the Big East team title in 2009 and 2010 before making the move to the Atlantic Coast Conference. Reaney was among UND’s eight All-Americans and 14 NCAA qualifiers. She also was a three-time ACC champion and the league’s Swimmer of the Year in 2014. Barnes also coached two Big East Most Outstanding Swimmer honorees with the Irish. His swimmers won 42 conference titles in the Big East.
With numerous Olympians on the roster, Auburn won a combined five Southeastern Conference titles during his tenure as an assistant coach. He helped mentor swimmers that combined for 291 All-America honors in his three seasons, headlined by 11 individual and six relay NCAA Championships. In the SEC, the women produced 15 individual titles and eight relay titles, while the men had 12 individual and 12 relay titles. He coached seven Big Ten champions in his three seasons as an assistant at Indiana.
Barnes was an accomplished swimmer during his career at Indiana in the 1990s. He was a two-time All-American and a five-time honorable mention All-American. His school record in the 400 individual medley stood until 2007. As a two-time Indiana Swimming Male Swimmer of the Year honoree (1989 and 1995), he was also a member of the USA Swimming National Team in 1989 and 1992.
A native of Osceola, Indiana, Barnes was a U.S. Olympic Trials qualifier in 1992 and 1996. He graduated from IU with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology in 1995 and is a level-4 certified member of the American Swimming Coaches Association.
Barnes was the assistant coach for two seasons at the University of Kansas before becoming the head coach of the Lawrence Aquahawks. He served as the leader of the third-largest swim club in the Missouri Valley area from 1998 to 2002.
Barnes is the father of two children, Jack and Caroline.