David Barnett returns to Auburn from South Alabama where he served as Head Cross Country Coach/Assistant Track and Field Coach since December 2012. He previously served as an graduate assistant/intern for Auburn from 2009-2011 where he helped lead the men’s indoor team to back-to-back top-20 finishes at the NCAA Championships and the women’s team to a top-10 finish at the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championships and top-15 finish at the 2011 NCAA Indoor Championships.
In his five years at South Alabama, Barnett was twice named Sun Belt Cross Country Coach of the Year – first after leading the men’s team in 2014 to their first conference title since 2006, and again in 2015 after leading the women’s team to their first conference title since 1993. Distance runners under his tutelage combined for 39 all-conference selections and 15 conference championships. Five school records were established on the women’s side in the 1,500-meter, mile, 3,000-meter and 5,000-meter.
Both the men’s and women’s championship teams earned the highest GPA in the Sun Belt during their respective seasons.
Barnett coached a trio of first-team All-Sun Belt performers in 2016 as Laura Labuschaigne, Ashley Heitling and Katleho Dyoyi were recognized after each recording a top-five individual finish at the Sun Belt Conference Cross Country Championships. The women’s team finished third while the men placed fifth. Joanna McCoy was named a 2016 Academic All-American.
In 2015, Barnett guided Four of his runners to All-Sun Belt honors as JoaAnna McCoy was named to the first-team and Labuschaigne, Heitling and Nicole Durham were named second-team. Men’s team runners Christoph Graf and Patrick Rohr earned first-team All-Sun Belt honors and Katelho Dyoyi was named to the second-team.
In 2014, Graf, a four-time All-Sun Belt selection, won the individual title and was named Most Outstanding Performer. He also was named all-region and qualified for the NCAA Championships.
Barnett coached a total of five All-Sun Belt performers in the 2014 outdoor season. The men’s team placed third at the Sun Belt Championships. Michael Pienaar was named the 2014 Sun Belt Freshman of the Year and earned three all-conference accolades in the 1,500-meter run, 10,000-meter run and 5,000-meter run. He also earned all-region honors following an 11th place finish at the South Regional. Rohr and Justin Housley also earned all-league honors. Rohr qualified for the NCAA preliminaries in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and Pienaar qualified for the World Juniors Championships in the 10,000-meter run.
Barnett coached four All-Sun Belt performers in the 2013 indoor and outdoor seasons. The women’s team finished third at the Sun Belt Outdoor Championships while the men’s and women’s cross country teams finished third and fifth, respectively. Nicole Durham was named the Sun Belt Women’s Freshman of the Year, while three Jaguars were named all-conference and had three of the top six freshmen finishers. Both the men’s and women’s teams were selected USTFCCCA All-Academic for the 2013 cross country season. The women had a university-leading GPA of 3.76 while the men had a 3.54.
Barnett initially joined USA as an assistant coach in October 2011 before taking the cross country reins in December 2012. He has served as the staff representative/huddle coach for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at South Alabama since his arrival. In addition to his degree from Auburn, he has obtained USA Track and Field Level I and II Coaching Certification. Barnett won the state 3A 1,600-meter run as a senior at Oneonta High School and went on to compete at Wallace State Community College.