Following a fourth postseason appearance in six years, Youngstown State head women’s basketball coach John Barnes has signed a contract extension that will cover the next five seasons.
Barnes has coached the Penguins to 104 victories and two appearances each in the Women’s NIT and the Women’s Basketball Invitational over his first six seasons. His extension includes the 2019-20 through 2022-23 seasons plus a university option for the 2023-24 season.
“I want to thank President Tressel, Athletics Director Ron Strollo and Assistant Athletics Director Elaine Jacobs for being extremely supportive of the women’s basketball program and myself,” Barnes said. “They will do anything they can to help us continue to succeed on the court and in the classroom. I’m also very thankful for my staff and players over the years who have worked very hard to help the program grow into one that can compete year in and year out on the national level. It is a privilege to coach at Youngstown State, and the extended contract is great motivation to continue to work as hard as we can to bring a championship to YSU.”
“We are very pleased with what Coach Barnes has been able to accomplish both on and off the court over his first six seasons,” Strollo said. “He has built a program that is very important to our campus and the community. Stability is very important for our success as a department and for our student-athletes, and we’re excited to have come to an agreement that is going to extend Coach Barnes’ time here. We look forward to many successful years in the future.”
Most recently in 2018-19, Youngstown State went 22-10 and earned an at-large berth to play in the WNIT. The Penguins won at least 21 games for the third time in Barnes’ six seasons, and they set new program records with 16 home victories and 13 Horizon League wins. Barnes earned the 250th win of his career during the season, and he celebrated his 100th victory at Youngstown State.
YSU led the Horizon League in field-goal percentage for the first time in program history at 42.2 percent, and the Penguins also held the top mark in free-throw percentage, assists per game, assist-to-turnover ratio and 3-pointers per game. It was the fifth straight year that YSU paced the conference in 3s, and the Penguins made at least 200 for the ninth straight year. Historically, YSU had its best assist-to-turnover ratio and scoring defense in 40 years.
Youngstown State has won a game in the Horizon League Tournament in five of his six campaigns, and the Penguins have reached the tournament semifinals four times in his tenure. Since Barnes took over the program in 2013-14, Youngstown State ranks third in the Horizon League with 104 overall wins and 57 conference victories.
Barnes has the second-most wins in program history with 104, and his .545 winning percentage is the third-best mark in program history. YSU has appeared in the WNIT in 2014-15 and 2018-19, and it played in the WBI in 2015-16 and 2017-18. Perhaps what is most impressive is YSU’s success in Barnes’ tenure compared to the time before his arrival. YSU has 104 wins in six seasons under Barnes, and it had 105 victories in the previous 12 seasons.
As successful as the program has been on the court in the last six years, the Penguins have been even more impressive in the classroom. Youngstown State has appeared on the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Academic Top 25 Honor Roll for having one of the 25 best GPAs in the country in each of the last five seasons. YSU peaked at No. 3 on the list in 2015-16, the same season it reached the final four of the WBI, and it was seventh in 2018-19.