MARQUETTE, Mich. – Tom Barnes, coach of the Northern Michigan University indoor and outdoor track and field teams for the past six years, is retired, according to NMU Athletic Director Forrest Karr.
“Tom did a great job building Wildcat track and field into a nationally competitive program,” Karr said. “He let me know immediately when I arrived that he was planning to retire, which has been helpful in organizing the search process and will ensure a smooth transition for the student-athletes.”
Barnes became the head coach of the track and field program in 2007 after serving as the assistant coach since 2003. All nine of NMU’s track and field NCAA All-Americans, all current NMU track and field records and Northern’s best Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships and NCAA Championships finishes have been accomplished during Barnes’ tenure.
“It’s my time to step away and spend time with my family. I have three grandchildren with another on the way and I’m excited to spend more time with them,” said Barnes. “Track and field is my passion and I really enjoyed coaching at Northern and all the opportunities it gave me to work with good people and great young athletes.”
This past year, Northern finished 14th at the NCAA indoor meet and 20th at the outdoor competition. The Wildcats were third at the indoor conference meet and fourth at the outdoor championships. They also finished fourth at the 2010 and 2009 outdoor meets.
Under Barnes’ guidance, Bailey Franklin (triple jump, 2011; high jump, 2012) earned All-America status three times; Jamie Roberts (pole vault, 2011 and 2012), three times; Sherice Hewett (triple jump, 2012), twice; and Jennie Lahr (mile, 2005). Krista Squiers (hammer throw) and Leslie Luehmann (heptathlon) also qualified for the NCAA Championships with Barnes as coach. Franklin was the GLIAC’s 2010 outdoor field athlete of the year and the freshman of the meet for the league’s 2009 outdoor championships. Hewett was this past year’s GLIAC indoor and outdoor championships’ freshman of the meet.
“My best memories are the student-athletes,” said Barnes. “They’re all special and they achieved a lot. They built their character and achieved success that will carry on with the rest of their lives. I’m leaving the track team in a good position and in good hands and it will continue to improve and grow. I thank Ken Godfrey (former AD), Steve Reed (current associate AD) and all the administration and staff for their support over the years.”
Prior to NMU, Barnes coached at Father Marquette Middle School, where he started the track program. During his career, he has been involved as a coach and event organizer with USA Track and Field’s summer program, Superiorland Ski Club, United States Ski Association events, FIS Nordic Ski Series and Marquette’s Noquemanon Ski Marathon. A long-time marathon runner, Barnes competed locally and regionally, and completed three Boston Marathons.
“Tom coached for all the right reasons and he is committed to helping us find a quality coach that will continue the program's success,” Karr added.
Karr said that a national search will begin immediately to replace Barnes. For more information on the position go to www.nmu.edu/jobsatNMU.
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