JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Dave Barnett has been coaching for a long, long time and nabbed quite a few honors along the way.
His recent election to the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame is Barnett’s biggest honor yet. The Flagler College baseball coach just wrapped up his 34th season in St. Augustine and has had quite the career that has touched bits and pieces of all walks of baseball, from high school to the pros.
Barnett is 982-791 overall, 24th all-time in NCAA Division II.
Barnett will be inducted into the ABCA’s hall as part of its Class of 2022 in Chicago. He said such recognition naturally makes him think about former assistant coaches and players who have been part of his journey. Barnett’s first head coaching job came as the junior varsity coach at Episcopal before he took an assistant coaching position at Iowa for three years, thanks to Hawkeyes coach Duane Banks.
That kickstarted Barnett’s coaching career and he’s been going nonstop ever since. He arrived at Flagler in 1987 and has been a fixture in the area ever since.
“I always say I didn’t win the games. I mean, the players win the game when you really think about it. That might sound cliche, but it’s not in the sense that you get to make out the lineup, you try to prepare the guys, try to get them ready, try to put them in the right spots,” Barnett said. “But we’ve been fortunate. We you still haven’t won a championship, a national championship, that would be icing on the cake … but our guys, we’ve always been competitive.”
Barnett also served as Flagler’s athletic director from 1994-2009 and helped guide the Saints through a transition that took them from NAIA to NCAA Division II. He finished his college playing career at North Carolina and played professionally in the Expos farm system. Barnett also coached two summers (2002-03) with the Class 1A Vermont Expos in the New York-Penn League. But Barnett is the most recognizable for his tenure in St. Augustine with Flagler.
“Well it makes you think of all the players and the people that have been around throughout the years. And then my colleagues at Flagler, you know, that have been a big part of just my whole career here just being here,” he said. “I sometimes think back, you know, 35 years, and it doesn’t seem like it’s been that long. But time flies. And then I look at, I say my colleagues or my co-workers and there’s not many left that were here when I started.”