Chestatee High has its new boys basketball coach.
The school’s principal Bill Thompson announced Friday that the school has hired former South Doyle High (Tenn.) coach Gary Barnes to lead the War Eagles’ program. Doyle takes over for Russ Triaga who resigned March 19.
Thompson says that Barnes was one of 70 applicants for the coaching position, which was narrowed down to a pool of eight that were interviewed.
The pool of applicants included more than 30 coaches with varsity head coaching experience, and an unnamed coach in Alabama with more than 500 career wins, said Thompson.
The new coach was first interviewed for Chestatee’s job Tuesday.
"Coach Barnes has been successful everywhere he’s been," Thompson said. "Meeting him and his family, it became clear he was a good fit."
Barnes first heard about the position opening by reading about it in a Times story. The new War Eagles’ basketball coach and football coach Stan Luttrell have a long standing relationship dating back to when they were graduate students at Carson-Newman College (Tenn.), and then as coaches at Union County High in Blairsville (2002-2004).
What lured Barnes to leave Tennessee for a job in Hall County is the reputation of Chestatee academically and athletically.
"I was looking for a school where I could build a program and stay for a time," said Barnes.
Barnes has a proven track record as a successful coach in his career. He has a 184-140 career mark at four different high schools, earning region Coach of the Year honors five times.
He was 53-34 in three seasons at Calhoun High, leading the Yellow Jackets to three consecutive GHSA state tournament appearances. He was 36-18 in two seasons at Union County with a trip to the state playoffs in 2003. With five seasons as a head coach in Georgia, Barnes is already well aware of the local tradition with programs in Hall County.
"Hall County has always had a great reputation as a basketball community," Barnes added. "It’s going to be a fun league to coach in with very good basketball talent and very good coaching."
His first coaching position was at Oneida High in Tennessee (1998-2002) and compiled an 80-45 record, with three district championships and three state sweet 16 appearances.