Jim Barnes strives for new expectations of athletic excellence


Jim Barnes, the new head coach for women’s volleyball, prepares with his team in Devlin Fieldhouse. The Wave will begin their season in Hattiesburg, Miss. this weekend. 

Tess Riley, Sports Editor

Louisiana native Jim Barnes has come back home after nearly 20 years coaching around the country to lead the women’s indoor volleyball team to victory.  

According to Athletic Director Troy Dannen, Barnes’ commitment to developing a winning team and his previous history of success will help improve not only the volleyball program but the entire culture of Tulane athletics. In a school where students are typically expected to excel academically and socially, Dannen would like athletic excellence to become an expectation as well.  

“For all these coaches that we’ve hired, I just want them to get to a position where every time we step on the floor, the court or the field, we expect to win,” Dannen said.  

The former Baylor University coach will make his season debut this weekend at the Southern Miss Invitational in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. His players are eager to display the fruits of their two-a-day workouts and summer training.

“They’re anxious to show what they’re made of and the difference from us working together,” Barnes said. “They’re looking forward to really proving a lot.”

According to Barnes, the way they will execute their offenses and defenses is different than how most of their opponents operate. Barnes believes that their slightly unorthodox style is what gives the team an edge.  

“We are unique, just like New Orleans,” Barnes said.  

Barnes’ coaching style is the result of 26 years on the court, 20 of which he spent as head coach. He started out as the assistant coach of his alma mater, McNeese State University and then went on to coach for Lamar University and University of Wyoming. His most recent position was at Baylor, where in 2009 he helped his team secure a spot NCAA March Madness’ Sweet 16. 

Aside from his accomplishments on the court, Dannen believes Barnes is the right fit for Tulane due to his personal values and the way he treats his players.

With an overall record of 344-268 over the course of 19 seasons, Barnes objectively appears to have the experience and insight necessary to build a winning program. There were, however, other factors for the athletic department to consider.  

“The subjective thing is, do you want them to coach your daughter, would you be happy with your daughter in their program?” Dannen said. “…He hit that mark for me.”

Barnes recruited six new players for the upcoming season. He believes that with Tulane’s combination of high end academics and a reignited investment in athletics, signing some of the best players in the country should be a realistic goal. He is also able to attract accomplished players by means of his own reputation as a coach with a winning mindset and a respectful manner of dealing with other coaches and players.

“All of those things I learned in the past coaching at the highest level is just going to help Tulane and this program,” Barnes said.   

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