Faulkner head football coach
and athletic director Brent Barker resigned Thursday, having accepted the
athletic director's position for the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw Independent School
District just north of Fort Worth in his home state of Texas.
"This was a tough decision for me and my family, because for the past 14 years Faulkner University has been so generous to us," said Barker, a Fort Worth native who played collegiate baseball at Texas Christian University. "I was provided a great opportunity to coach at the college level, and I've made so many great friends at Faulkner and in the Montgomery area. The chance to continue my career with a wonderful school district back home was just too much to pass up."
In his new position, Barker will oversee athletics for a number of schools, including three high schools – Boswell High School, Saginaw High School and Chisholm Trail High School. Athletics at five middle schools and 17 elementary schools will also be under Barker's supervision.
Faulkner president Billy D. Hilyer expressed his understanding of Barker's desire to return to his native state of Texas. He also knows his shoes will be hard to fill, considering his high-energy approach to his work.
"We'll miss Brent," Hilyer said. "He did a great job for us while he was here in a number of capacities, having been successful as both a coach and an administrator. Maybe more important than the actual jobs he's undertaken is the way he has approached them. He approaches everything with great enthusiasm, and has brought much good will to our athletic department and to our university. We wish him and his family well."
In his 14-years at Faulkner, Barker also coached the baseball and golf programs. He came to Faulkner in 2001 as the head baseball coach, and immediately lifted the Eagles to national prominence. Faulkner was consistently ranked in the NAIA's top 10 and in seven total seasons at the helm he averaged 40 wins a year. He guided the Eagles to the 2001 NCCAA national championship and to NAIA regional tournaments in 2002, 2003 and 2004, with his 2004 team winning the Georgia-Alabama-Carolina Conference championship.
In five seasons as Faulkner's head golf coach, Barker helped build the foundation of the men's team while starting the women's team. He recruited most of the players on the men's team that qualified for both the 2013 and 2014 NAIA national tournaments under current coach Travis Lauterbach.
In 2012, Barker took over the Eagles' football program, which had a combined 10-41 record in its first five seasons of intercollegiate competition. In his first season, Faulkner posted the program's first winning record at 6-5. Last year, the Eagles went 9-3, earned a top 10 ranking in winning the Mid-South Conference's West Division title and made their first appearance in the NAIA playoffs.
Under his watch the past nine years as athletic director, Faulkner programs have enjoyed great success. In the past two seasons alone, there have been eight teams earn bids to NAIA national tournaments.
"I'm really proud of the growth and success of the athletic department over the years," Barker said. "I have been surrounded by so many great administrators, coaches and staff. It truly has been a collaborative effort. I know the future of the Faulkner athletic department will be both exciting and successful."
INFORMATION SOURCE: Faulkner University Athletics Department