RUSSELL, Ky. — Tom Barrick, to almost everybody affiliated with Ohio high school basketball for almost a quarter-century, has been heavily involved in leadership positions within the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Association.
Now, his leadership is going national —clear to the top of the proverbial food chain.
That’s because Barrick, who coached in Ohio for 33 years including his most recent posts at Wheelersburg and Eastern, has been named the new president of the National High School Basketball Coaches Association — the group officially announced on July 29.
He has actually been the NHSBCA’s vice president for the past two years — per the position’s elected term.
Barrick, despite coaching last season and currently continuing coaching at Russell High School in Kentucky, has been the OHSBCA’s first-ever Executive Director since 2015 — elected to that role in the same year in which he was inducted into the OHSBCA Hall of Fame.
Barrick, in a telephone interview with The Portsmouth Daily Times last week, said that with his assignment at the national level — and to focus on this presidency — he will step down as OHSBCA Executive Director.
Barrick becomes the first Ohio coach to be elected to the position of president of the NHSBCA.
He replaces Chris Nimmo of Missouri, who has been the president for the past two seasons.
“As far as being the first Ohio coach (to be NHSBCA president), there are other guys who would be as good if not better than myself at this, but I just had an opportunity to do something that probably a lot of other coaches didn’t have the opportunity to do. I had the opportunity to serve on the national association (executive committee). The national organization is becoming a voice for high school and scholastic sports. We’re fighting the battle of keeping high school basketball relevant in all the states. Just trying to address some of the issues that are prevalent. We’re basically an organization of state coaches’ associations,” he said. “Having the opportunity to work with these guys is quite an honor.”
That work, he said, includes improving communications, “getting more involved with corporate sponsors” and “remaining significantly involved in the June recruiting period” —especially amid the nationwide coronavirus situation.
On Tuesday night, before Barrick’s telephone interview, he was on a Zoom conference call with coaches representing 29 states — regarding coaching clinics.
“We’re going through a lot of things with these unprecedented times, and the organization has constantly been trying to evolve. The Zoom meetings and everybody being forced to get on the communication and technology bandwagons because of the pandemic has actually proven productive for our organization. We have monthly Zoom meetings with the executive board and then we have quarterly meetings with the entire board. For example, we’re getting the opportunity to work with those guys in Wisconsin to find out what’s working there and maybe we can adapt something from there to see if it can work in Ohio or Kentucky,” said the coach. “Corporate sponsors is a target area we are looking at, we want to continue to foster a network of coaches associations, and we want to continue to build strong relationships for the June recruiting period.”
There is a national convention each summer, where an estimated 50 to 70 of the national leaders gather in one city.
This summer, that convention was scheduled to be in Cleveland, but of course was cancelled due to the coronavirus threat.
Barrick said Cleveland will host the 2021 event as a result of the cancellation, and will be the first time that Ohio has hosted the annual NHSBCA conference.
“We’re excited to be going back to Cleveland next year,” he said.
But Barrick didn’t just jump automatically into administration at the national level.
His involvement with the NHSBCA is now nine years running, when he started representing Ohio while serving as OHSBCA president.
Three years later in 2014, Barrick became the first Ohio coach to be selected to the NHSBCA’s executive committee —as he was inducted into the NHSBCA’s Court of Honor for his national-level efforts three years (2017) after that.
Barrick served a three-year term as OHSBCA president from 2010 thru 2013 — after originally elected to the Buckeye State’s association executive committee in 2006.
“That was a great experience and opportunity for me,” he said. “That experience will help me get along with this position. Similar to the statewide level, it’s being able to try and get corporate sponsors and being able to build networks nationwide. It’s a step bigger, reaching out to more people in different areas throughout the country.”
While coaching at Wheelersburg, he served as the District 14 Director from 1998 until 2006 — as current Pirate boys head coach Steven Ater is the current District 14 Director.
But Barrick was also, in terms of winning, a highly-successful Ohio boys coach — as he spent 33 seasons in the state, including 31 as a bench boss.
Over those three decades, he amassed a record of 481-241 —having coached at four schools including Wheelersburg and Eastern.
The others were Jewett-Scio, which later consolidated, and Morgan —but Wheelersburg by far was where Barrick is remembered most.
He guided three Pirate teams to the OHSAA Division III Final Four, including in back-to-back years of 2006 and 2007.
His 1995 Wheelersburg squad was the Division III state runner-up, as he stepped down at Eastern following the conclusion of the 2018-19 campaign.
Barrick still resides in Ohio and now coaches in Kentucky, making for a “unique situation” as he is now the national association president.
“It’s a very unique scenario. I live in one state, coach in another state, and now accepting the presidency of the national organization, as crazy as that sounds,” he said, with a slight laugh. “I am relinquishing my role as Executive Director in Ohio, as I was asked to stay on last year as we worked through some contract issues with our sponsors. Of course, for everything Ohio and that coaches’ association has done for me, I could never say ‘no’ to anything I could help with. But it is a balancing act, and that’s one of the reasons I am stepping away from the Ohio aspect of it. I want to make sure I can do justice in the positions I am at.”
Which now includes both teaching and coaching at Russell.
“Those are two extremely important positions for me. I still love the game of basketball, and am very passionate about my relationships with the players,” said Barrick. “The situation so far at Russell has been nothing but incredible.”
So too, he said, has been his tenure as the OHSBCA Executive Director —as Barrick begins now his new national leadership role for two years.
“I think it’s going to be an exciting couple of years and I look forward to the challenge,” he said. “I look forward for us rebounding from this pandemic and navigating this year and getting things back to a sense of normalcy as soon as possible.”
Barrick is a 1980 graduate of River View High School, as he graduated from Rio Grande College in 1985 and received his Master’s Degree from Ohio University in 2001.
He has been married for 34 years to his wife Kim (Benedict), as the couple has two adult daughters — Kayla Barrick Dawson of Richmond, Ky. and Logan Barrick of Louisville.
More information about the NHSBCA can be found on its website at www.nhsbca.org.
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at email@example.com, or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved