GREEN BAY - Escanaba native John Barnes is returning to the head coaching ranks after accepting the job at Youngstown State on Friday.
Barnes spent one season as an assistant to Kevin Borseth at Wisconsin-Green Bay's women's basketball program, before the position at Youngstown State became available when coach Bob Boldon took the job at Ohio University.
"It's an up and coming program. They've made some major strides in the last few years and they have a good base of players coming back from next year," said Barnes of Youngstown State during a phone interview Friday afternoon.
Barnes said the opportunity was ideal because of his ties to the state.
"I was born in Ohio and I have family down there also so it makes it a good draw for me," he said. "They have some nice facilities around campus and they're trying to do a lot to make it a great place to go to school."
The Division 1 university, located east of Cleveland in Youngstown, Ohio is known for being the last position of football coach Jim Tressel before he took the job at Ohio State.
The women's basketball program at Youngstown has enjoyed recent success.
"The last two years, they've really picked things up. They had 23 wins last season, the most they've had in a long time," said Barnes. "The program seems to be headed in a very good direction."
He will bring with him his brand of tough defense.
"I've always wanted my teams to be hard-nosed defenders, but also able to shoot from three-point range," he said. "I always like a good post player to go inside and when the opportunities are there we'll definitely push it up for easy baskets."
This opportunity will be the sixth job for Barnes since 2010 and his first head coaching opportunity since he led the Michigan Tech women from 2003-10. After leaving MTU in July of 2010, Barnes become an assistant at Wisconsin. In June of 2011, he became an assistant at Marquette, followed by a stint as an assistant at Michigan, before becoming an assistant to Borseth at UWGB in May of 2012.
Over a 17-year coaching career, Barnes, 40, has made the postseason 12 times and has posted a winning record in all 17 seasons. As a head coach at Michigan Tech, Barnes went 156-55 and made the NCAA Tournament five times, including two Elite Eight appearances.
UWGB went 29-2 during 2012-13 season with Barnes as an assistant.
Barnes will be formally introduced at a press conference next week.