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Barnes trying to establish winning tradition at Ole Miss

By By Steve Swogetinsky/The Meridian Star
May 3, 2001
What can a coach do for an encore after his team goes through a basketball season the way the Ole Miss Rebels under Rod Barnes just did?
His team finished its 2000-2001 campaign with a 27-8 record and a place in the Sweet 16. Barnes was named Southeastern Conference coach of the year and national Naismith coach of the year. More recently, he was named an assistant coach to the 2001 USA men's team which will compete in the World University Games in China later this summer.
Barnes, a standout performer for the Rebels during his playing days, was an assistant coach with the program until he was promoted to head coach three years ago. He certainly took advantage of his opportunity, putting together a 66-35 (.635) record. His first team also played in the 1999 NCAA Tournament.
Though not expected to be a contender at the start of this past season (actually, most polls picked Ole Miss to finish last), the Barnes-led Rebels went 11-5 in Southeastern Conference competition and captured the West Division championship. They also made it to the finals of the SEC Tournament.
But the past season is now a memory and Barnes is looking forward to tipping off the 2001-2002 season in November. He is pleased with his recruiting season, and expects his team to be competitive once again.
Now and during the summer will be important times for the Rebels, Barnes noted.
Steve Swogetinsky is regional editor of The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3217, or e-mail him at sswogetinsky@themeridianstar.com.