ASHVILLE — Through 29 seasons of coaching junior varsity boys basketball at Teays Valley, Brian Barnett has occasionally thought about applying to take the lead chair on the bench when a vacancy occurred.
The timing was finally right this week for the 1986 graduate of Teays Valley to take the helm of the boys basketball program, pending approval by the district’s Board of Education during its monthly meeting on June 28.
“It’s something I’ve thought about before, including about 15 years ago, but the timing was never right for me until now,” Barnett said. “Since then, I’ve become (a business teacher) at the high school and I’m around the kids on a daily basis and everything kinda fell into place for me.”
Former Teays Valley coach Doug Etzler, who resigned last month to go home to coach his alma mater, defending Division IV state champion Crestview, believes Barnett is a good fit to succeed him for several reasons.
“It’s nice for our kids to have a familiar face and keep the consistency going with the program,” he said. “Obviously, Coach Barnett is going to put his own stamp on the program, but it’s nice for our kids to not have to start completely over.
“Coach Barnett has a great ability to relate to our kids and they are drawn to his personality and the way he coaches the game. He’s the type of a coach who can explain what you need to do in a calm manner, but also get more vocal about it when he needs to get their attention.”
Barnett discussed taking the helm of the program from Etzler and the mark that he wants to put on Teays Valley boys basketball.
“Coach Etzler laid a great foundation for us to build on and he’s been a great mentor to me over the 15 years we’ve coached together,” he said. “He’s taught me a lot about the game and we’re going to keep some of those core things that Coach Etzler put into place and also build on them.
“We’re probably going to look at running an uptempo offense. Talking with the kids over the past three-to-four-weeks, they’d like to run an uptempo offense and I think we have the personnel to be able and do that effectively. One of the things I’ve always believed in coaching is that you have to tailor what you do on offense and defense to the strengths of the kids you have on the team, while working with them to build their skills and fundamentals.”
Barnett, who is the long-time coach of the school’s boys golf team, discussed taking over the boys basketball program at his alma matter.
“It’s special to coach where you grew up, where you played and where you know so many people,” he said. “Obviously, that’s why Coach Etzler left Teays Valley to go to Crestview, because coaching your alma mater is a special opportunity.
“I think when you coach your alma mater, it makes you work a little harder, push the players a little more and also push the coaches on your staff a little more.”
The Vikings are coming off a 14-9 season, where they won the Mid-State League Buckeye Division championship outright for the first time this century.
Barnett is slated to hold a meeting for players who are interested in participating in high school boys basketball for the 2019-20 season, along with their parents, on Monday at 6:30 p.m. inside the main gymnasium at the high school.