FRANKLIN FURNACE — Tom Barrick seemed quite content in retirement from education, and even coaching basketball, although he has spent substitute teaching time this past academic year in the Green Local School District.
“I didn’t do anything this past year, and I honestly felt like I was done coaching. I’ve been retired teaching full time since 2015, but I’ve been subbing here at Green this year a couple or three times a week,” said Barrick, in a recent interview at Green High School. “Just to get out and continue to do something. It’s the camaraderie with the teachers, the students. I am not a sit-at-home type of guy. So that was what really started this entire process.”
Indeed, for the 59-year-old Barrick, the proverbial ball of being the top boys basketball Bobcat began rolling —to the point in which he expressed interest in the open head coaching position, as Scott Blankenship had been the bench boss for the past two years.
Thus, two weeks ago on April 21, the legendary Barrick was officially hired by the Green Local Schools Board of Education in a unanimous 5-0 vote —being named its new boys basketball head coach, as the 2022-23 campaign will mark his 34th season as a head coach in Ohio.
Barrick brings three-and-a-half decades of basketball head coaching experience to the Bobcats, as the proud program has somewhat slid back —being under .500 for the past three seasons.
Barrick’s career coaching record, after an even 24-24 two-year stint across the Ohio River at Russell, stands at 505-265 —with Wheelersburg and Eastern being his two nearby Buckeye State stops, before crossing into Kentucky in 2019.
But now, Barrick is back — and no longer donning Orange or Black or Brown, but Green.
And, it’s a brand-spanking new-look Green district starting next year —with new school buildings and basketball gymnasiums, in addition to a new football field with a state-of-the-art regulation eight-lane track.
Barrick’s excitement over the new facilities was obvious.
“When I come up here to sub (teaching), strictly the excitement that’s in the community right now with the new athletic facilities and school buildings. The football field is going to be as good as any Division VII program anywhere. There will be three gyms for a Division IV basketball school. The community has just said that they are going to give their kids the very best of everything,” he said. “The excitement with the teachers, the kids and the community…there’s a ton of energy here right now. I’ll be honest, that excitement tickled the itch (to get back into coaching).”
But Barrick also stated that the Green administration approached him about coaching —expressing mutual interest in that regard.
Barrick said that although he didn’t attend any Bobcat bouts in person last season, he has watched some of their games over the past two years from film.
“We looked at some things and some possibilities, and I’ve said that the kids here at Green are very good about themselves. They had interest in me and I had interest in them. The excitement in the community is what pushed the buttons as far as the interest, and it’s an exciting time right here right now in Green Township,” said the coach. “They’ve got some good kids right now, and let’s not kid ourselves, there are some good kids coming up in the middle school and youth levels.”
While optimism and excitement underscores the Bobcats’ youth movement, Barrick —perhaps with an “old school” style of philosophies and principles —brings success and plenty of experience to Green.
Over those three-plus decades, he amassed an Ohio coaching 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.
He coached for five years with the Division IV Eagles after leaving the Pirates’ program.
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.
While coaching at Wheelersburg, he served as the District 14 (Coaches Association) Director from 1998 until 2006 — as current Pirate boys head coach Steven Ater is the current District 14 Director.
Barrick served a three-year term as OHSBCA (Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Association) president from 2010 thru 2013 — after originally elected to the Buckeye State’s association executive committee in 2006.
Two years ago, Barrick became the president of the National High School Basketball Coaches Association — the group officially announced on July 29 of 2020.
Barrick had 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 became the first Ohio coach to be elected to the position of president of the NHSBCA.
His involvement with the NHSBCA is now 11 years running, when he started representing Ohio while serving as OHSBCA president.
As for getting Green going for this summer season and beyond, he has not formed a full coaching staff as of yet — but met a week ago with his prospective players, and their parents and/or legal guardians.
“We tried to sit down a plan on how we want to go about establishing a culture of excellence. What our expectations are on players, what our expectations are in the weight room, those kinds of things. I thought that was well-attended, and we got some great questions and had great dialogue,” said Barrick.
After all, it takes an “entire team effort by everybody to establish what we want to do.”
“This is not going to be a quick fix. Our ultimate goal is to have a system and a culture in place that will be sustained and will do things right all the time, and not just basketball-related. We have to establish a good quality culture, a good weight program, skill development, and we have to recruit exciting young people into the Green school district. To teach and to coach,” said Barrick. “I want Green to be a destination place to go to school, be part of good programs, and to come back and coach. Do we have a lot of work to do with that? Yes we do. But just the pure excitement of being here right now with what’s going on, it makes it a challenge worth taking on and embracing.”
Indeed, Barrick is back —and going Green this time.
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved