Rod Barnes, University of Mississippi Basketball Coach

Finding peace in the midst of adversity is just one of Rod Barnes' fringe benefits
by Doug Greengard

University of Mississippi Basketball Coach Rod Barnes

University of Mississippi Basketball Coach Rod Barnes will be the first to admit that winning games is not his top priority. Sounds surprising, considering the success that Barnes has had since taking the helm in 1998. Barnes has led Ole Miss to the post-season four times. His finest season was 2001, when the Rebels compiled a school- record 27 wins, advanced to the NCAA Tournament's "Sweet Sixteen" and Barnes was named National Coach of the Year. The victories are nice, but Barnes takes greater joy in something more fulfilling: being able to shape his players emotionally and more importantly spiritually.

"It's a great opportunity," said Barnes, who spent five years as a Rebels assistant before his promotion to head coach. "I'm so thankful to Him that He would choose me to stand for Him. God continues to show Himself every day and He continues to bless me everyday. I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to stand before people and let them know how good God is."

Barnes has earned the reputation of being someone who does just that. After the death of his father in 1992, Barnes decided to live a life fully committed to serving Jesus Christ. It has been an exciting, and often challenging, journey. "It's been so awesome," added Barnes, who was also an All-Southeastern Conference player with Ole Miss in the mid-80's. "In just my own life, I've asked God to draw me closer to Him. It's been a molding, creating and carving of everything. I'm seeking His face."

Barnes has also found that some of life's greatest lessons have come during the most challenging times. The 2003 campaign, which ended with the Rebels missing the post-season for the first time in six years, was his most recent example. "This was a season that brought about so many different things," he added. "Through all the adversity and tough times He gave me peace and showed so much grace. I'm so thankful to Him."

Not everything has been too challenging for Barnes. As his faith in Christ has grown, he has found it increasingly easier to believe in God's faithfulness. Said Barnes: "He says, 'you just do the things that are possible and I'll handle the things that are impossible.'"

Sounds like another winning combination for Rod Barnes.

Doug Greengard is the host/producer of the Christian Sports Minute, a radio feature airing on nearly 350 stations in North America. To get Heroes of Faith, a book filled with 24 stories on well-known sports figures, send $10 to: Greengard Family Ministries, P.O. Box 113013, Metairie, LA 70011-3013. Visit the Website at

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