Phil Barnes -- 100 Alumni You Should Know

Phil Barnes

Phil Barnes -- 100 Alumni You Should Know


By Khassandra Hameg

He’s been inducted into two halls of fames, state coach of the year a dozen times, a three-time national finalist for coach of the year, teacher of the year in Duncan and his students and teams have honors too numerous to mention. Graduate Phil Barnes says none of this would have been possible without his start at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

“If it wasn't for USAO, I would not be where I am today. USAO helped make me who I am today. I received a quality education and had instructors who helped me succeed. I am so thankful for what the school has done for me,” Barnes said.

Barnes is a graduated in 1981 with his physical education degree. He is a physical education teacher and the men’s and women’s tennis coach for Duncan (Oklahoma) Schools.

He actually ended up in Chickasha after the tennis program was cut at East Central. Barnes earned a full athletic scholarship to play tennis at East Central, and when the program was cut, he transferred to USAO. He played for USAO from 1978-80. After that, he stayed around another year to help.

“He was probably the most dedicated tennis player. He loved to play tennis. He was destined to be a coach,” said Brisco McPherson, USAO’s athletic director. “He’s so passionate about it that’s why he’s been successful as a coach.”

“I had a great time. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I didn’t realize it much then, but it was phenomenal,” Barnes said. “Playing tennis for the tennis program and the friends I made. I have a lot of good friends I stay in contact with now. Brisco (McPherson) being one of them.”

After USAO, Barnes began working at the country club in Chickasha, which is how he got connected to Duncan Schools. He began coaching for Duncan in 1985 and never looked back.

His tennis teams have earned seven state championships, 27 regional championships and 12 state academic championships. Barnes has coached ten state runner-up teams and 34 individual state champions. Forty of his students have earned all-state honors.

He has been a national finalist for coach of the year three times and state coach of the year a dozen times. He is a member of the Duncan Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Oklahoma Tennis Coaches Hall of Fame in Feb. 2017.

Help the USAO Alumni Association celebrate its 100th anniversary by submitting a 100 Alumni You Should Know profile at