For the English association football player, see Gary Barnett (footballer).
For the New York real estate developer, see Gary Barnett (real estate developer).

Gary Barnett (real estate developer)

Gary Barnett
File:Barnett at Fiesta Bowl cropped.jpg
Biographical details
Born (1946-05-23) May 23, 1946 (age 74)
Lakeland, Florida
Playing career
Position(s)Wide receiver
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Missouri (GA)
Air Academy HS (CO)
Fort Lewis
Colorado (assistant)
Head coaching record
College Football Data Warehouse
Accomplishments and honors
2 Big Ten (1995–1996)
1 Big 12 (2001)
AFCA Coach of the Year (1995)
Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award (1995)
Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year (1995)
George Munger Award (1995)
Home Depot Coach of the Year Award (1995)
Paul "Bear" Bryant Award (1995)
Sporting News College Football COY (1995)
Walter Camp Coach of the Year Award (1995)
Best Coach/Manager ESPY Award (1996)
2x Big Ten Coach of the Year (1995–1996)
2x Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year (AP) (2001, 2004)

Gary Barnett (born May 23, 1946) is a former American football player and coach. He served as the head coach at Fort Lewis College (1982–1983), Northwestern University (1992–1998), and the University of Colorado at Boulder (1999–2005), compiling a career college football record of 92–94–2. His 1995 Northwestern team won the Big Ten Conference title, the first for the program since 1936, and played in the school's first Rose Bowl since 1949. At Colorado, Barnett was suspended briefly in the 2004 offseason due to events stemming from allegations of sexual misconduct by several members of the football team.[1]

Early life and playing careerEdit

Barnett attended Parkway Central High School in Chesterfield, Missouri and graduated from the University of Missouri in 1969 with a bachelors degree in social studies. He continued on to get his masters degree in 1971 in education. Barnett played wide receiver for Missouri from 1966–1969. He lettered his senior year under coach Dan Devine.

Coaching careerEdit

Early coaching careerEdit

Barnett started his coaching career at the University of Missouri as a graduate assistant from 1969–1971 under coach Al Onofrio. After he graduated, he was a successful high school coach at Air Academy High School in Colorado Springs, Colorado for 11 years, nine as head coach. His teams won six conference titles and reached the state semi-finals twice, in 1980 and 1981. Barnett then began his head coaching at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. After two seasons as head coach, he left on February 20, 1984 to become an assistant coach at Colorado under Bill McCartney. Barnett was the running backs coach for his first season, but switched to quarterbacks and fullbacks for the next seven seasons. On December 3, 1990, he was promoted to offensive coordinator. His first game coordinating the offense was against Notre Dame in the 1991 Orange Bowl, which Colorado won to earn their first, and only, national championship.


Later in 1991, he left Colorado to become the head coach at Northwestern, then a perennial doormat team. When he was introduced to the Student body he told them that he was going to take the purple to Pasadena. In 1995, Barnett led Northwestern to the Big Ten Conference title and the 1996 Rose Bowl, their first since 1949. The Wildcats lost 41–32 to USC.[2] The following year, the Wildcats reached the Florida Citrus Bowl, losing 48–28 to Tennessee. Barnett turned a program holding the record for longest losing streak in Division I-A into a championship caliber organization.


In 1999, Barnett left Northwestern after eight seasons to become the 22nd head coach of Colorado. His on-field career at Colorado was mostly successful; however, his reputation was tarnished by a recruiting scandal, insensitive off-field remarks and failure to maintain the on-field success of his predecessors. Colorado was alleged to have enticed recruits to come to Colorado with sex and alcohol during recruiting visits causing the school to self-impose harsher recruiting rules than any other Division I-A school. That scandal, coupled with Barnett's dismissive comments about former placekicker Katie Hnida, who alleged that she had been raped by a teammate, led to Barnett's temporary suspension in 2004 during the off-season. Barnett was reinstated before the start of the 2004 season, and went on to coach the team to an 8–5 record, earning Big 12 Coach of the Year honors along the way.

Barnett continued as coach in 2005, leading the Buffaloes to a 7–2 start. However, the Buffs narrowly lost to Iowa State, then suffered a 30-3 thrashing at the hands of Nebraska and a 70–3 blowout by the eventual national champion Texas Longhorns in the Big 12 championship game. Additionally, an anonymous tipster wrote a letter to CU system president Hank Brown accusing Barnett of numerous improprieties, including tampering with sworn testimony.[3]

On December 9, 2005, Barnett was forced to resign and accepted a $3 million buyout. Colorado then went on to play in the Champs Sports Bowl losing to Clemson. The loss is officially credited to Barnett, even though assistant Mike Hankwitz served as interim head coach for the game.

Colorado was the Big 12 North Champion four of the seven years under Barnett, and Big 12 Champion one of those years (2001). Colorado was also ranked #2 in the nation and part of a controversy with the BCS Poll in the 2001 season when the Nebraska Cornhuskers were selected ahead of Oregon and Colorado for the National Championship game, even though Colorado had just beat Nebraska 62–36.

In June 2007, the Buffaloes were placed under probation for two years and fined $100,000 for undercharging 133 student-athletes for meals over a six year span (2000–01 to 2005–06 encompassing Barnett's tenure at Colorado) resulting in the major infraction.[4] The football program, with 86 of the 133 student-athletes involved, also lost one scholarship for the next three seasons.[4]

After coachingEdit

Barnett operates the Gary Barnett Foundation, which was formed in February 2005. The foundation is a tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated to the support of educational programs for economically disadvantaged and at-risk youth. There were rumors that Missouri was considering hiring Barnett during the 2005 season. Barnett began working as a TV commentator for the BCS show on Fox Sports Net in 2006. Barnett also is a commentator for Sports USA.

Head coaching recordEdit

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Fort Lewis Raiders (Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) (1982–1983)
1982 Fort Lewis 4–5–1 3–4–1 5th
1983 Fort Lewis 4–6 4–4 4th
Fort Lewis: 8–11–1 7–8–1
Northwestern (Big Ten Conference) (1992–1998)
1992 Northwestern 3–8 3–5 T–6th
1993 Northwestern 2–9 0–8 T–10th
1994 Northwestern 3–7–1 2–6 10th
1995 Northwestern 10–2 8–0 1st L Rose 7 8
1996 Northwestern 9–3 7–1 T–1st L Florida Citrus 16 15
1997 Northwestern 5–7 3–5 8th
1998 Northwestern 3–9 0–8 11th
Northwestern: 35–45–1 23–33
Colorado Buffaloes (Big 12 Conference) (1999–2005)
1999 Colorado 7–5 5–3 3rd (North) W
2000 Colorado 3–8 3–5 4th (North)
2001 Colorado 10–3 7–1 T–1st (North) L Fiesta 9 9
2002 Colorado 9–5 7–1 1st (North) L Alamo 21 20
2003 Colorado 5–7 3–5 T–4th (North)
2004 Colorado 8–5 4–4 T–1st (North) W Houston
2005 Colorado 7–5[n 1] 5–3 1st (North) Champs Sports[n 1]
Colorado: 49–38 34–22
Total: 92–94–2
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
Indicates BCS bowl, Bowl Alliance or Bowl Coalition game. #Rankings from final Coaches' Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.



External linksEdit

Cite error: <ref> tags exist for a group named "n", but no corresponding <references group="n"/> tag was found.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.