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Back into coaching

He was born and raised in Pike County, he attended school and coached basketball right across the county line at Dixie Academy and now he is coaching basketball at Pike Liberal Arts School.

Mike Barbaree is jumping back into the coaching world as the head boys’ basketball coach for the Patriots after being out of coaching for three years.

“It is a challenge to coach again,” Barbaree said. “I love basketball and I love being with the kids and I love competition. I have always been a competitive person and the opportunity to help these young men was something I couldn’t pass up.”

It helps that he knows some of the parents.

“I grew up with some of the parents here and they have great kids,” Barbaree said. “I am looking forward to working with them this year.”

Barbaree has not been able to get a full look at what his team will look like on the court because the football Patriots are still playing and a good chunk of the team is still competing on the gridiron.

No matter what, Barbaree said he would have the Patriots being competitive and winning some games. In his nine years as the boys’ and girls’ basketball coach at Dixie, Barbaree coached each squad to a state championship in Class A and led the boys’ team to seven Final Fours and one runner-up finish.

He resigned as the Dixie head coach when his son who played basketball graduated in 2005. Barbaree played high school basketball and baseball at Dixie and played baseball in college for one year at Wallace and one year at Troy University.

Barbaree will not be alone on the sidelines, as Johnny Dunn will help him out.

Dunn has coached all across this area and he actually coached Barbaree during his time at Dixie.

“When I started coaching at Dixie I would always talk with coach Dunn,” Barbaree said. “All my knowledge really started with him and I was really proud when he said he would help me out this year.”

But more than anything else, Barbaree said he is most excited about working with the young men he will be coaching.

“Whether it is on the floor or something else in their lives, I want them to know I am there to help them,” Barbaree said.