Scott Barnes isn’t sure if the 2015 NCAA Tournament will quite stack up to his experience in 1984, when he was guarding Karl Malone for Fresno State.
But whatever happens two years from now, the Utah State athletic director at least knows he’ll be running the show.
Barnes was named chairman of the NCAA men’s basketball committee for the 2014-15 season, and one of his primary duties will be to run college basketball’s premier event. Barnes, who has served on the committee for the last three seasons, will step forward as the figurehead behind March Madness.
The Aggies’ AD said Wednesday that he’s ready for the spotlight and the scrutiny that comes with the position.
“I’m willing and able to take it on, and I know it will be a rewarding challenge,” he said. “I’ll have some time to transition into that role, and we have lots of great people with the NCAA, on the committee and in Utah that will support me as I take this on.”
The committee selects several members as nominees for chairman, and the members vote by secret ballot. Barnes said he was humbled by his selection to lead the committee, and it was something he wouldn’t have imagined when he joined in 2010.
Barnes generally takes a lot of time out of Logan in March for his tournament duties. He acknowledged it would be additional work to be chairman, but will have time to learn as vice chairman next year, and would rely on his Utah State support staff to help out as the tournament approaches.
He said he’s heard from a lot of folks congratulating him on one of the most-high profile administrative roles in college sports.
“It’s fun to think about how much college basketball has given me, even back to when I played at Fresno,” he said. “It opened a lot of doors, and now I just hope I can give back to the game.”
Barnes has truly made his name by turning around Utah State athletics since taking over in 2008. He’s increased the department’s revenue, facilitated expensive upgrades, and helped the school earn an invitation into the Mountain West Conference.
Barnes’ background in basketball includes a professional career in Germany, and coaching stints in high school and club basketball. He served as the general manager of the Fresno Flames in the World Basketball league.
Utah State’s own basketball program is well-regarded in the coaching community. Stew Morrill has led the Aggies to 14 straight 21-win seasons, accumulating a 73.9 winning percentage in his tenure there.