Josie Barnes, who helped Vanderbilt Bowling win one national championship as a student-athlete and another as an assistant coach, has been promoted to the position of Associate Head Coach.
"There is no more iconic figure in Vanderbilt Bowling than Josie Barnes," Head Coach John Williamson
said in making the announcement. "Josie has embodied success from the first day she arrived on this campus 12 years ago. She has worked hard and continues to grow as a highly effective mentor to our young people. She has earned a world reputation and yet remains a life-long learner, a fun and humble person to be with. We are lucky and proud that she is a Commodore."
"I certainly appreciate that my coaching efforts have been recognized by my school," Barnes said, "but this new title doesn't change my goals or our plans for the kids. Our aspirations remain high. We're mentors to outstanding young women; we serve as parents away from home. Coaching is a fulfilling way of life and I love it."
Barnes' career, which began as Josie Earnest in the 2006-07 school year as a freshman, includes numerous major awards.
Her strikes in the 10th
frame of Game 7 of the NCAA Championship match with Maryland-Eastern Shore clinched Vanderbilt's first ever team national championship. She became a three-time, first-team All-American and twice was voted the NCAA Player of the Year. In 2008 the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame named her the state's female amateur Co-Athlete of the Year with basketball star Candace Parker. She was a first-team academic honor roll member by the National Ten Pin Coaches Association.
Upon her graduation she became the first assistant coach in the bowling program. She wasn't entirely sure what to think of the chance.
"It is interesting how my career has evolved," Barnes recalls. "When I began I was coaching my friends since I had recently graduated. My sister (Jessica) was on the team. I felt like I had something more to offer the program when I took the job. I didn't think I'd done enough. It was super important to me that we win another national championship. I didn't know at the time if coaching was for me but I was looking for a way to give back to a school that had given me so much."
Barnes was a fixture on Junior Team USA and Team USA for many years, winning 32 gold medals in international competition. A year ago Barnes was selected for Team USA at the World Championships, where she won a bronze medal.
She was inducted into the Vanderbilt Athletic Hall of Fame, the first Vanderbilt bowler to be so honored. Josie has also been highly successful on the Women's Professional Bowling Tour, where she is a two-time tournament champion, including one approximately a month after Vanderbilt won the 2018 NCAA Championship in April.
Now beginning her ninth year as Williamson's coaching colleague, Barnes is no longer the uncertain rookie coach. Her international stature commands the respect of the current Commodores and draws the interest of elite junior talent eager to learn from her on the lanes.
One thing has remained a constant with Barnes: her drive to embrace excellence remains her true North Star.