By Peter Castillo and Esteban Ramirez
The Runner Staff
The accolades keep rolling in for CSU Bakersfield men’s basketball coach Rod Barnes.
Barnes has been awarded the Hugh Durham Mid-Major “Coach of the Year” by College Insider as a part of their annual awards.
“It’s an honor, if you look at the names on that list, there’s some future hall-of-famers on there,” said Barnes. “There’s a lot of great mid-major programs out there, to be recognized as the best out there, it’s an honor.”
This is the first time that Barnes has received this honor. He was also named the Don Haskins Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year for each of the past two seasons.
Barnes was previously named Naismith National Coach of the Year, having won the honor in 2001 while coaching at the University of Mississippi.
In his sixth season at CSUB, Barnes led the Roadrunners to a 25-10 record and the program’s first regular season WAC title.
The 25 wins set a program record at the Division I level.
Redshirt-senior forward Jaylin Airington said he is thankful for getting to play for Barnes.
“I’m blessed to be a part of his life and to have him in my life,” said Airington. “I’m grateful and thankful for him giving me the opportunity to play here in Bakersfield.”
He also won his 100th game at CSUB this season, becoming the third coach in school history to accomplish the feat.
“Coach Barnes has given so much time, effort, sweat and tears to get the program to where it is now,” said CSUB Athletics Director Kenneth Siegfried.
The Roadrunners received an automatic bid as an eight-seed to the National Invitation Tournament by virtue of their regular season title.
CSUB then went on to win road games at California, Colorado State University and the University of Texas at Arlington, becoming the first eight seed to advance to the NIT semifinals in tournament history.
These were the first three postseason wins for the program at the D-I level.
The Roadrunners would fall in the semifinals to Georgia Tech at Madison Square Garden 76-61 on Tuesday, March 28.
“Rod Barnes has done a phenomenal job of building CSU Bakersfield into a perennial contender in the WAC,” said CollegeInsider.com’s Angela Lento to gorunners.com. “What he has done over the past two seasons is as good of two-year run as any mid-major program in college basketball.”
Barnes was also named as a finalist for College Insider’s National Coach Award of the Year and Minority Coach of the Year Award.