Passion: a word that means a strong and barely controllable emotion. That’s a word you can put by the name of coach Phil Barnes as he was certainly passionate and will be remembered for his passion to spread the love of tennis.
Barnes and I first met during the 2017-18 school season, my second full season of sport in Stephens County.
From the first time we spoke and the long conversations we had to get on the same page, the love and passion Barnes had for his sport became apparent.
As we got to know each other, Barnes began to realize that the same goal we both had was the same and that was to promote the future of tennis while showing the passion that the game takes and creates.
I grew up watching tennis on television, but I never fully understood the sport until Barnes did what he did best which was being a gamer and passing on his knowledge.
Duncan Athletic director Bobby Cook, who has a daughter who is currently learning tennis, said Barnes was the type of man he trusted to mold his own children into a game he loved.
The passing of Coach Barnes is incredibly sad. He was a staple not only in the tennis world, but also in the school district and community, Cook said. He was a person who loved children and was great with his relationships with them. I can attest to this with my own children who absolutely loved him. His achievements as a coach are endless. From state championships to Oklahoma Coaches Hall of Fame induction. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.
During the first year we met, Coach Barnes and I had one thing in common. That was graduating from the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma and calling ourselves Drovers.
That first year we met was also the time Barnes was inducted into the USAO Athletic Hall of Fame and honored by his close friend and former Athletic Director Coach Brisco McPherson.
Barnes was always talking about him and Coach McPhersons’ relationship and you could tell that relationships were very important to the man.
When I went back and forth from my office to my wife’s work to drop off lunch, there was rarely a time when you didn’t see anyone working on the track and Barnes not too far behind them.
Barnes loved those tennis courts and spent over 30 years building relationships that stood the test of time.
As the sun sets during his time on Earth, Barnes and his passion for the sport of tennis will live on through the many relationships he has built and will stand the test of time for generations to come.
I was proud to show the passion Barnes had for the sport and I know that his spirit will always be on the Duncan High School lanes where many will gather to remember the good times.
Despite not attending, Coach Barnes will always be Duncan Tennis. The program is in better shape with the passion of one man who has grown the game and won many accolades.
Those awards will stand the test of time and be remembered forever alongside Barne’s passion as the story of the Duncan High School tennis program.
Andy Morphew is the sports editor for The Duncan Banner. To contact him, call 580-255-5354 or email [email protected]
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