‘The hardest year to coach’

By David Fleet
In 1980, Post-It Notes came on the market, a new video game called Pac-Man was the rage and Ronald Reagan was elected president.The same year Coach Gary Barns started at Goodrich High School as an assistant to JV Boys Basketball Coach John Joslin.
More than 40 years and 600 high school basketball games later—Barns who in 2019 passed 400 wins says the pandemic-laden past year has been his greatest challenge.
“This by far has been the hardest year to coach,” said Barns. “It’s about the unknown. Still the coach is the face of the program, I would not let the kids down—they have to trust their old coach. A lot of people were upset with the shut down of winter sports then went to Lansing to express their opinion and concerns. But you need to lead and move on to the next game.”
On March 12, 2020 the team with a 21-1 record gathered in the GHS gymnasium just before the district final game versus Powers Catholic High School.“I had to tell the players, on the cusp of district title, they’re done for the season,” said Barns. “I really feel for our seniors— Colby Wiggins, Caden Veenhuis, Jacoby Brandon and Nolan Robb. They were done.”
On Feb. 4 Gov. Whitmer announced that indoor contact sports may resume on Feb. 8 as long as safety measures are followed.Whitmer said sports can continue as long as masks are worn.

If masks are not worn, student-athletes must have regular COVID-19 testing.“We did what we could over the summer,” he said. “But we stayed focused on being safe and used common sense. It’s a challenge when you have no summer or fall program. This year we have eight seniors and some young players. Our schedule has been tough but I remind our players to be confident, not cocky—they play hard and we know there’s a target on our backs. We’re led by two seniors Davis and Rubio who have a great future.”
As of March 3 the Martians are 6-2 overall and 5-0 in the Flint Metro League. The non league loses are Carman-Ainsworth and Detroit King.

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