Barnes wins 900th game
Westside-Augusta coach Gerald Barnes won his 900th game Saturday afternoon, joining Bobby Howard as the only two high
school coaches in state history to win 900 or more games. (Special Photo: Michael Holohan/The Augusta Chronicle)
Westside's Barnes notches 900 victory
By Tim Morse
AUGUSTA, Ga. – Gerald Barnes tried as hard as he could.
But there was no way his Westside High School players were going to let this moment slip without at least some celebration.
On the field appropriately named “Gerald Barnes Field,” the longtime baseball coach recorded his 900th coaching victory Saturday afternoon with a 13-0 victory over cross-town rival Richmond Academy.
He becomes just the second coach in state history to notch 900 or more wins, joining Saint Anne-Pacelli coach Bobby Howard, who has 989 victories. Howard won the majority of his games at Columbus High School. Barnes claimed all of his victories at Westside, serving as the school’s head baseball man since 1976.
But he would just as soon talk about the game than himself.
“It’s nothing that I did,” said the humble Barnes. “I just happened to be a part of it. I had some great players. And of course, longevity is a big thing in something like this.”
The milestone victory happened as part of a doubleheader. The Patriots were scheduled to play Greenbrier, coached by Barnes' only son David, in the second game. The legendary coach was honored after the game as his two daughters, Amelia Barnes and Mary Thiede, were in attendance.
Barnes is one of just five coaches in state history to win 700 games or more. Saturday's win gave him a 4-1 mark on the season and increased his overall record to 900-301. He had three games this week postponed.
He won back-to-back state titles in 1987 and 1988 and finished as the state runner-up twice (1980 and 2005). Barnes has led the program to 22 region titles despite his teams usually playing up in classification. He teams also finished as region runner-up nine times.
The legendary coach also played under another legend – former Richmond Academy coach A.L. Williams, who won a state record seven straight state titles from 1951-1957. Barnes didn’t play on those teams, but he was a standout under Williams a Richmond Academy and graduated from the school in 1969. He originally attended college at the Carolina Military Academy in Maxton, N.C. where he suffered a knee injury.
He returned to Georgia and had a scholarship offer to South Georgia, but he went to Middle Georgia College instead. He later attended Augusta State before graduating from Georgia Southern.
Barnes also served as the school's head football coach from 1997 to 2008 where he guided the Patriots to a region title and four postseason appearances in 12 seasons.
“I’ve been lucky through the years,” Barnes told The Augusta Chronicle. “A lot of good kids and a lot of good parents supported us. If I had to do it again, I’d do it again.”
Barnes has sent a wealth of players to college and a few signed professional contracts.