Champion Of Character: Lambuth’s Josh Barnes

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Gallatin native Josh Barnes had several reasons for signing with Lambuth University five years ago. “My high school baseball coach was from the Jackson area,” said Barnes. “Coach Massey, the Lambuth coach at the time, his brother coached basketball at my high school,” Barnes said. The opportunity to play two sports also appealed to Barnes. “I had the opportunity to play football here at Lambuth my freshman year,” Barnes said. Barnes said LU also offered a great business program. However things began to change – on the field and at the university. “After my freshman year they wanted me focus on baseball and it‘s been a unique experience as far as seeing all the people come in and the different coaches,” said Barnes. Playing for three different coaches made for a less than perfect situation. It also presented Barnes with a reason to transfer. Despite news of Lambuth’s financial trouble, Barnes showed an old school dedication to the university. “He showed not one second of quit in him,” said Lambuth baseball coach Jack Peel. “It‘s just his inner person; loyalty, trust, a lot of qualities you don’t see these days,” said Peel. Barnes appeared in nine games as a freshmen and eleven games his sophomore year. His progress, however, was derailed by an unexpected obstacle. “My junior year I tore ligaments in my shoulder and I had rotator cuff surgery,” said Barnes. “I felt for Josh when he struggled to come back in the fall, especially during the cold months,” said Coach Peel. “There were times I considered stepping aside and just focus on academics,” said Barnes. Through it all – the redshirt senior was determined to finish where he began and what he started. In the school’s final baseball season, Barnes appeared in 10 games, earned a win – and tossed the final out in Lambuth history. LU will close down at the end of the summer due to financial difficulties. Barnes was asked to sum up his experience at Lambuth. “It taught me to stick with things,” said Barnes “Don‘t dwell on short term goals, but push through life struggles,” Barnes said. Barnes will graduate with two degrees this month and hopes to gain employment in business or sports management. “Josh has qualities you can‘t teach,” said Coach Peel. “His enter drive is hard to find in some guys,” Peel said.