Do you know who has been coaching basketball for at least 20 years and is currently the Greenville University Men’s Basketball Coach? If you guessed George Barber you would be correct. Barber graduated from Person Senior High School in Roxboro, North Carolina in 1982. He went off to college at Asbury University and graduated in 1986 with a degree in Physical Education and History Education. Then, he completed his Master’s degree and Doctorate at the University of Kentucky.
Barber started his coaching career at Asbury University, coaching baseball and basketball clubs from 1989 to 1991. Barber moved on to be the administrative assistant under Rick Pitino at the University of Kentucky. He helped scout opponents, coordinate recruiting visits, and perform other menial tasks. The position Barber held was similar to what a graduate assistant would do today. In the 1996 season, he was a member of the national championship team. After Kentucky, Barber went to be an assistant coach at Bradley University, a Division I school in Peoria, Illinois. He was there for 3 years, from 1996 to 1999. Coach Barber missed teaching, so when the job opened at Greenville in 1999, he jumped at the opportunity to be a head coach and professor. The courses he teaches are Exercise Physiology, Health and Wellness, Adapted Physical Education, and other subjects.
Coach Barber and his players have won multiple awards over the years as him as the head coach.
- Barber was named the 2016 SLIAC Coach of the year, and his Panthers were regular-season SLIAC conference co-champions.
- In 2017, the Panthers won the SLIAC Conference championship to go to the NCAA DIII Tournament.
- In 2016, his Panthers led the nation (all divisions) in scoring at 114 ppg and in 2018-19 broke it again scoring 134.7 ppg. In 2015, Dr. Barber received the Lee McKinney Distinguished Service Award given by the Saint Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
While at Greenville as head men’s basketball coach, he has coached players which have received:
1 NCCAA Pete Maravich National Player of the Year Award
23 NCCAA All Region Awards
2 NCCAA All-American Award
25 SLIAC All-Conference Awards
6 SLIAC All-Defensive Team Awards
6 SLIAC Team Sportsmanship Awards
People usually have mentors to help them along the way to show them the ropes. Coach Barber has a few that he looked up to when he started coaching and still ask for advice from. Most of them are his coaches that he had or coached with. Cecil Zwiefel, a Greenville grad of 1968, Rick Pitino, Jim O’Brien (Kentucky), Jim Molinari (Bradley University), Frosty Westerling (Pacific Lutheran), Doug Faulkner (Greenville), Scotty Kessler (Greenville), Gary Smith (Redlands), John Wooden (has read many of his books) to name a few of them.
Some goals that Barber holds is to have fun, to be a mentor to the young men, and to watch the spiritual growth of his players. One of the favorite parts of coaching is the relationships that he made throughout his time of coaching as he still has some great relationships with his former players and coaches. Some advice he has for people that want to be a coach is, “It’s about 1/3rd putting on the shorts and the whistle around your neck, and the other 2/3rds other work behind the scenes. It’s a great medium to teach character.”