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Billy Barnes has been a staple at Walsingham Academy after coaching the Trojans’ boys basketball team for the past 23 seasons.
What began innocuously in 1993 with a win against Hampton Roads Academy — Barnes’ first career victory — became something much larger as Barnes went on to lead the Trojans to four conference titles and a state championship.
A symbol of Barnes’ tenure at Walsingham is his win total, which reached 400 during a Nov. 27 win against Summit Christian in the semifinal round of the Walsingham Academy Thanksgiving Invitational.
On Monday, Barnes was honored by Walsingham Academy for reaching his 400-win milestone before the Trojans hit the court and defeated Atlantic Shores in a thrilling 70-63 shootout.
“It’s a tremendous accomplishment, maintaining that level of excellence for such an extended period of time,” Walsingham Athletic Director Neil Bailey said. “We are fortunate to have a coach of his caliber leading our young men. The impact he has made on Walsingham goes far beyond the wins, championships, and awards; he’s been a positive influence on countless young people, and we’re incredibly proud of the program he’s built and how he’s built it.”
Barnes has transformed the Walsingham Academy boys basketball program in his 23 years with the school.
Prior to his arrival at Walsingham Academy, the Trojans had never won a Tidewater Conference of Independent Schools championship in boys basketball. Barnes has since guided the Trojans to four TCIS championships in 2002, 2005, 2009 and 2012 in addition to a Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association state championship in 2007.
Barnes has also shown an ability to develop high school players into college athletes. Under Barnes, dozens of Walsingham players have played college basketball and two — Patrick Dwyer and Martin Klines — went on to play professional basketball in Europe.
The coaching success of Barnes stems from his historic playing career for William & Mary. Barnes was a four-year starter and team captain for the Tribe men’s basketball team and is the program’s all-time career steals leader.
In 1998, Barnes was inducted into William & Mary’s Athletic Hall of Fame.