Duke Names Brian Barnes As Next Swimming & Diving Head Coach

May 23, 2023

DURHAM, NC – Duke University Vice President and Director of Athletics Nina Kingannounced Monday the hiring of Brian Barnes to the position of director of swimming and diving. Barnes, who spent the last three years as the associate head coach at NC State, is the Blue Devils’ sixth head coach in the program’s history.

CSA is honored to have assisted King and Duke Athletics on another Blue Devils search.

“We are absolutely thrilled that Brian and his family are joining the Duke Blue Devil family,” said King. “His passion and knowledge of the sport, along with his compassion for student-athletes resonated with us during the hiring process. He has clearly demonstrated success as a head coach at this level and we truly look forward to Brian getting started in this role. I have no doubt that Brian Barnes is absolutely the right person to build upon Dan Colella’s longtime success with Duke swimming and diving.”

Barnes succeeds the late Dan Colella, who coached the Blue Devils for two decades before his passing from cancer in December.

“I want to thank President Vincent Price, Director of Athletics Nina King and the rest of the hiring committee for this opportunity,” said Barnes. “I am humbled and honored to follow the late Dan Colella in this role. Dan’s passion for the sport and his student-athletes is something that I strive to continue and follow here at Duke. I have been so fortunate throughout my coaching career to have been surrounded by so many amazing swimmers, divers and coaching peers. Accepting the head coaching job at Duke is a product of all those influences and I remain humble knowing that not everyone is afforded an opportunity like this. I want to thank my 16-year-old son, Jack, and 14-year-old daughter, Caroline. I have always made these decisions looking through their lens and they have been right beside me at every stage in this process, often sending me supportive texts and messages for added inspiration. I have been moved by their support.”

NC State’s women finished a program-best No. 2 in 2021. The teams followed that with the best combined finish by any program in the nation in 2022 and 2023, as the men took fourth and the women placed fifth in 2022. Barnes played a role in leading NC State’s men back to the top of the podium at the 2022 and 2023 ACC Championships.

At the 2023 Women’s NCAA Championship, Barnes oversaw 10 first-team All-Americans and eight second-team All-Americans, with participants on the 200-medley relay team breaking the school record.  The Wolfpack men’s and women’s teams secured top-eight finishes in each of the last three NCAA Championship meets.

“Duke University is truly an amazing place that offers a unique, wholistic undergraduate student-athlete experience,” said Barnes. “Additionally, Duke offers a world class education – the swimming and diving program is an integral part of that education. It is a place where you can graduate with honors while becoming a NCAA All-American, National Champion or Olympian.”

As the men’s assistant coach at Purdue, the Boilermakers set benchmarks in all five relays and set nine records – six program and three freshman – during Barnes’ first season in 2018-19. That year, three relay teams qualified for the NCAA Championships where the team placed 23rd overall. Barnes helped orchestrate two relay records and the Boilermakers’ first relay medal since 2009 at the 2020 Big Ten Championships.

Prior to his time at Purdue, Barnes was a three-time Big East Coach of the Year as the women’s head coach at Notre Dame, leading the Fighting Irish women to Big East team titles in 2009 and 2010. He also coached two Big East Most Outstanding Swimmer honorees and saw his student-athletes win 42 individual and relay conference titles.

After Notre Dame moved to the ACC at the start of the 2013-14 campaign, Barnes helped guide Emma Reaney to the 2014 NCAA title in the 200-yard breaststroke, Notre Dame’s first NCAA champion in the pool. Reaney set NCAA and American records in the event after being named 2014 ACC Women’s Swimmer of the Year.

In total, Barnes coached 21 All-Americans, 168 all-conference selections, 45 conference event titles and 24 NCAA qualifications while at Notre Dame.

A native of Osceola, Ind., Barnes completed his collegiate swimming career at Indiana, where he was a seven-time All-American for the Hoosiers. He qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1992 and 1996 and was also a member of the USA Swimming National Team in 1989 and 1992.

For the full release from Duke Athletics, click HERE.

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