David Barnes, a distinguished figure in western Kentucky football circles for more than four decades and a former coach at Daviess County High School, has died.
He was 59.
The Caldwell County High School coach and athletic director, who courageously battled Parkinson's Disease for the past two years, reportedly fell ill during the Tigers' preseason scrimmage at Hopkins County Central on Friday night and passed away at about it 7:50 a.m. on Saturday.
"David was a special individual," said an emotional Jeff Hurley, a former assistant coach for Barnes at DCHS who remained a close personal friend. "He was just a very thoughtful person who loved what he did and cared deeply about the people around him.
"He had the quality of always knowing what people around him needed, and that's what I've been thinking about all day.
"David kept everything in perspective and he was beloved by everyone who knew him well -- I loved him."
On their Twitter page Saturday, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association released the following statement:
"Our thoughts and prayers to Caldwell County and the Barnes family on the passing of coach David Barnes. Longtime coach and athletic director and advocate for kids and football. Good man and contributor to education based athletics. RIP."
Barnes enjoyed several quality seasons at Daviess County, where he served 22 years -- the last 13 as the Panthers' head coach. But he couldn't resist a return to Princeton and his beloved alma mater, Caldwell County, in 2006. Thereafter, his coaching career skyrocketed exponentially behind a fan-friendly high-powered offense.
In 13 seasons with the Tigers, Barnes posted a 110-50 record (.688) -- ranking third in school history in career coaching victories behind Fred Clayton and Pat Gates, each of whom won 117 games.
In 2014, Barnes was the Louisville Courier-Journal and Kentucky Football Coaches Association Class 2-A Coach of the Year in Kentucky. The KFCA selected him Kentucky's Class 3-A Coach of the Year in 2017.
In 2012, Barnes directed Caldwell County to the KHSAA Class 2-A state championship game -- the program's first such appearance since winning the 2-A state title under Clayton in 1963. The Tigers lost a narrow 30-26 decision to Newport Central Catholic at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green.
Barnes also was considered instrumental in the development of Caldwell County quarterback Elijah Sindelar, the 2014 Kentucky Mr. Football selection. Sindelar is a fifth-year senior at Purdue University, where he will likely be the starter this season.
Also an outstanding football player, Barnes was a four-year starter and All-State running back at Caldwell County in the 1970s -- setting a single-game rushing record that stood for 34 years. He later played at Georgetown College.
Barnes is a member of the Caldwell County Football Hall of Fame.