Caldwell County football coach David Barnes, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2017 but continued his career as head coach and athletics director at the Western Kentucky school through this preseason, died Saturday morning at the age of 59.
Barnes became ill at a scrimmage Friday night, according to YourSportsEdge.com. As the news of his passing broke on social media, colleagues and former players reacted with sadness and fond memories of a man who coached his alma mater for 13 seasons beginning in 2006.
“Coach Barnes was a legendary coach. He always cared about every player and always went the extra mile to try and put his players in the best position to be successful,” Elijah Sindelar, Caldwell County’s celebrated 2015 Mr. Football winner who now plays at Purdue, said statement released to media outlets. “It was an absolute honor to be able to play under a coach that I knew had my back on every play no matter what happened. He believed in me even during the times I didn’t believe in myself, but even more so, he trusted me, and that’s what made him such a good coach.”
Barnes compiled a record of 110-50 and led his team to the 2012 Class 2A finals during Sindelar’s sophomore year.
Franklin County girls’ basketball coach Joey Thacker, a longtime football assistant in Central Kentucky recalled his great friendship with Barnes in a Twitter post Saturday afternoon.
“He was my coaching football role model,” Thacker said. “We met at a camp in Ohio and were instantly connected. Prayers to William, Rachel and his team. I can’t imagine your loss. He text(ed) me every Friday night to wish me good luck. EVERY Friday night.”
Prior to taking over Caldwell County, Barnes led Daviess County for 13 seasons, according to YourSportsEdge.com.