Eric Barnes, a 2004 South Aiken High School graduate, has been named the new head men's soccer coach at Niagara University.
Barnes came to NU as an assistant coach this past season and takes over the head coaching position after Chase Brooks accepted the same position at Duquesne University. In his first year at Niagara as an assistant coach, Barnes helped the Purple Eagles earn their first Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title and a trip to the NCAA tournament in the program's 43-year history.
Barnes, who possesses an NSCAA Premier Diploma and an NSCAA Advanced National Goalkeeping Diploma, came to NU from the University of Pittsburgh where he served as the men's soccer assistant coach from 2009-11.
Barnes is a graduate George Mason University, where he played collegiately for two years while obtaining his bachelor's degree in health, fitness and recreation resources with a concentration in sport management. He then played two years at Pittsburgh while earning his Juris Doctorate.
His efforts on and off the field earned him the Martin Dunphy Goalkeeper of the Year Award, as well as the Colonial Athletic Association Commissioner's Academic Award, National dean's list and Athletic Director's Honor Roll honors.
Barnes also played professionally for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL-2) during the 2009 season and for the Carolina Dynamo (PDL-USL Premier Development league) in 2007.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the high school Barnes attended. Eric Barnes is a 2004 South Aiken High School graduate. The Aiken Standard regrets the error.