Scott Barnes, a Fresno State basketball standout under legendary coach Boyd Grant, was introduced Thursday as the new athletic director at Oregon State – leaving the same job at Pittsburgh in what the Spokane, Wash., native said was a “no-brainer” move back to the Pacific Northwest.
Barnes, 54, recalled his run as an All-Pacific Coast Athletic Association center in the mid-1980s during his opening remarks at a news conference in Corvallis. His wife, Jody, also is an ex-Bulldog.
“Both Jody and I are products of an incredible student-athlete experience ourselves being at the Division I level, hailing from Fresno State,” Barnes said. “I do need to set the record straight. Jody is by far the better student-athlete. She was a runner-up in the Big West in the high jump two years in a row. As for me, I was one of those guys trying to find his way as a defensive stopper.”
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The self-deprecation continued as Barnes recalled an athletics career-defining two-game series with Oregon State.
“I had a chance to guard both the great Charlie Sitton and A.C. Green. Held A.C. to 32,” he said of the future Los Angeles Lakers’ first-round draft pick. “Of course, by then halftime rolled around and I was able to regroup. I don’t know if it was that bad, but it felt that bad.”
Barnes cited timing and location as factors in leaving Pittsburgh for Oregon State, where his official title is vice president and director of intercollegiate athletics. Those factors include some family health issues, he said.
“To be back out in the Pacific Northwest is an absolute no-brainer,” said Barnes, whose hiring was announced Dec. 22 and whose first day on the job will be Feb. 13. “We have family from Northern California to Washington and everywhere in between. So we’re happy to be home.”
Oregon State features 18 sports with 535 student-athletes and an operating budget of $84 million, a slightly larger operation than Pittsburgh, which has 19 sports, 475 student-athletes and a $75 million budget.
Academic success, the competitiveness of the Beavers’ teams and developing new revenue streams are all priorities.
“It’s really about a bigger vision,” Barnes said. “We are building for stability and sustainability in our programs.
“Our ability to be successful in the Pac-12 is something that creates a sense of urgency — and I’m excited about that. It’s a big-time conference and Oregon States a big-time institution.”
Oregon State President Ed Ray praised Barnes as a “proven performer.”
“We need someone at this point in time to help us move this program to the next level,” Ray said. “I honestly believe he can do this.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Scott Barnes file
- Born: June 23, 1962
- Hometown: Spokane, Wash.
- Alma mater: Fresno State, 1986
- Family: Barnes and his wife Jody have two children: daughter Milanna and son Isaac
COLLEGIATE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPERIENCE
- University of San Diego, 1989-90, director of athletic development
- University of the Pacific, 1990-94, executive director of the Pacific Athletic Foundation and associate athletic director
- Iowa State, 1994-95, director of athletic development; 1995-97, associate athletic director for development and special projects
- Humboldt State, 1997-99, athletic director
- Eastern Washington, 1999-2005, athletic director
- Washington, 2005-08, senior associate athletic director for advancement
- Utah State, 2008-15, athletic director; 2012-15, vice president
- Pittsburgh, 2015-February 2017, athletic director
- Oregon, Feb. 13, 2017, athletic director
Source: University of Pittsburgh