For over twenty years now, Greenville has been home to Dr. George Barber, head men’s basketball coach at Greenville University. He has had a long path of coaching filled with many accomplishments and accolades. Coach Barber’s integration of faith into his coaching created a fascinating journey that helped make him into the man of God he is today.
The beginning of these started when he was getting his doctorate degree at the University of Kentucky. During this time, he was a Graduate Assistant for the basketball team under Coach Rick Pitino. In 1996, UK won the NCAA National Championship. This experience gave Barber a brand new set of skills. Coach Barber explains about Kentucky, “I am blessed to have met the people in my life, truly thankful to everyone that has helped me grow along the way.” His path then included coaching at Bradley University and finally, Greenville. Coach explains his journey at Greenville has also been very rewarding, impacting everything from basketball to family and continuing to grow in his faith.
Faith became an important element in Barber’s journey when he needed it most. He grew up in a Christian family and accepted Jesus at a young age, but during his freshman year of college, he fell behind in classes and broke some rules along the way, which eventually led to a rough patch in his life. That following spring semester, he was ineligible for the baseball season. After realizing that he will never be content without Jesus at the center of his life, he decided to rededicate his life during his sophomore year of college. Barber explained, “I wanted my life to count for something. I wanted to be a man of God. Ultimately I want to be a good father, a good husband, and a good coach.” As a coach, Barber voices to his players that the Holy Spirit will bring you wisdom, understanding, and even knowledge. He explains the spiritual journey could be difficult, but he wants everyone to know he or she always have a helper. In the Christian walk of faith, you will have the Holy Spirit joining you along the way. He said that at times you don’t have to rely on self-will. You can be weak and still answer God’s call for your life because He is always there.
For coaching, Barber’s philosophies are unique and he is always striving to be the best coach possible. “Success is not always based on wins, it’s based on being the best that you can be, not all are equal in talent, size, or strength. Although we are all equal to the same opportunity.” This opportunity that the Lord gives us is that each and every one of us has a chance to be the best person possible. He explains that God gifts every person differently and uniquely. Coach Barber knows the Lord has convicted him to coach in a way to deemphasize the win. He doesn’t just want his players to grow and develop as athletes, but also as men with good character. Winning is not the center of this program; rather, the center is aimed at impacting the lives of his young players. Barber emphasized to “be true to what you are called to do.” This style of coaching isn’t for every coach, but he believes is what the Lord has called him to do. Dr. Barber looks forward to growing his program, faith, and impacting player’s lives for years to come.
Media By Dustin Bankowski.