Hampshire boys basketball coach Bob Barnett plans on having a heck of a car ride down to Bloomington in April.
Barnett will make the trek south with his father, Keith, to the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame ceremony. The association recently revealed Barnett will be inducted with the Class of 2013.
“It’s the Hall of Fame. Are you kidding me?” said an appreciative Barnett when asked his thoughts on joining the state’s elite high school basketball coaches in the Hall. “It’s years of work and toiling and sweat and laughter. It also tells me a lot of kids were willing to give up personal gains for team goals. It’s an incredible honor and accomplishment.”
Barnett, who is on medical leave at Hampshire after suffering two heart attacks in an 80-second span Nov. 20, is thrilled to be able to share the honor with his father, one of his staunch supporters.
“It will be fun to share that with him,” said Barnett who had not contacted his father yet about the honor when contacted by the Daily Herald Monday night and was surprised word had already gotten out about the honor. “I get to tell him that on April 27 he’s going down with me and watch his son go into the IBCA Hall of Fame. I’m sure there are going to be tears on both ends.”
Barnett noted his father kept the scorebook for his teams at countless games over the years.
“He used to keep the book when I was at Franklin Center and when I went up to McHenry and when I was sophomore coach at Oregon,” said Barnett. “He kept the book when I played in high school until junior and senior year and then he wanted to watch. He was there with me at Ashton and he would drive to Hinckley (-Big Rock). He drove everywhere. He drove to Mundelein when I was over there. When I moved to Hampshire, he would drive there. He can’t get out a whole lot anymore, but I’m sure it is going to be a fun ride getting down to Bloomington together. This is my 27th year as a head coach. He’s been along the whole way.”
Barnett never thought he would be approaching three decades as a head high schoolboy’s basketball coach.
“Heck no,” he said. “When I started I was making $900 a month for God’s sake, and that was teaching and coaching together. Todd Sutton (Neuqua Valley head coach) and I were talking and Todd was my assistant back at Franklin Center and he went into the Hall of Fame last year. We were talking about how not too many people stay in coaching as long as we have because of all the different stuff that goes into it these days. It’s still fun for me and it’s still fun for Todd, but not a lot of guys stick around as long as we have anymore.”
The 51-year-old Barnett, a graduate of Oregon High School, said his medical condition continues to improve on a daily basis.
“I’m doing a lot better. I went to the doctor (Monday) and he wants me out a little longer,” he said. “You have to take your time. I miss the boys and I miss the game. When I come back I’m going to put everything into it and rock on and have fun this year.”
Barnett is targeting Dec. 10 as a possible return date.
“I have a letter from the doctor that says the 20th, but I am going to talk him down to the 10th,” he laughed. “I’m good at doing that. But when you have two heart attacks in 80 minutes, you have to give yourself time to heal. I’m 51 and my 25-year-old mind says I can overcome it. I have to slow down and get everything healed correctly and then move on.”
Barnett is in his 11th season at Hampshire and has a 406-271 career mark. He has not coached a game this season.
In addition to Barnett’s induction, former Elgin boys coach Jim Harrington will receive the Buzzy O’Connor Award from the IBCA for lifetime achievement.
According to available data from the IBCA website, Barnett is just the ninth boys or girls coach from a Fox Valley area school to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. He joins an elite list that includes Mike Bailey, the former Dundee-Crown and current St. Patrick coach who is the current president of the IBCA, as well as a (Dundee High), as well as Bob Scarpino (St. Edward, honored as a career coach), current Jacobs boys coach Jim Hinkle, current Streamwood girls coach George Rosner (honored as a career coach), Harrington, Gary Collins (Crystal Lake South), Jim Root (Hampshire), Bill Chesbrough (Elgin) and John Krafft (Elgin).Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.