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300 wins: Still loving the game

Goodrich Basketball Coach Gary Barns chats with players. Photo by Patrick McAbee. (click for larger version)
January 26, 2011 - It's a Friday night in January.

Twenty-year veteran Goodrich Varsity Basketball Coach Gary Barns watches as the seconds click off on a 74-52 conference road win over Lake Fenton.

For two decades, that winning scenario has been repeated for Barns and his Martians netters 300 times.

"I never got into it for wins and losses," said Barns, who reached the 300-win milestone on Jan. 21. "I just love basketball."

Barns started in Goodrich in 1980 as an assistant to JV Boys Basketball Coach John Joslin.

"When John moved up to varsity I went with him as his assistant," he said. "I took over as varsity coach in 1991— our first win was Montrose High School. We've had some amazing teams over the years—including two undefeated teams."

"I've had some really great players, over the years. My family has been very supportive and Goodrich Athletic Director Al Martus has been great to me. My key to winning —we always do activities as a team."

A 1968 Ortonville graduate, Barns attended Olivet College and Oakland Community College. After college he worked for the State of Michigan as a park ranger and later for the Department of Corrections. He retired from the state in 2005 after 21 years.

"All those years I coached basketball," he said.

"I don't have a life," laughs Barns, 60. "I don't bowl, smoke, golf or drink. I'm boring, but I coach basketball. It's the greatest game. I never got into wins and losses—we just play. I tell the media we take it one game at a time."

Barns also coached the Goodrich JV Girls Basketball team from 1999-2006, taking the team to a remarkable 149-5 record. When the boys and girls basketball season changed to the winter season Barns stayed coaching the boys team.

The Martians finished the 1996-97 season without a loss, but were defeated by Hamady High School in regional action ending the season 21-1. The team was perfect through the 1998-99 regular season, however they lost to Brown City in the regional finals. The season ended 24-1. The 1995-96 season was the first for Goodrich to make regionals, where they lost to Elkton-Pigeon Bay Port.

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