Tulane names George Barnett as new offensive line coach

Riptide Tulane Green Wave mascot
George Barnett

NEW ORLEANS – Tulane University football head coach Willie Fritz announced on Monday the addition of George Barnett as the team’s new offensive line coach.

Barnett brings a wealth of knowledge to the Green Wave’s offensive line, having coached the position for more than 20 years, dating back to 1999.

“We are thrilled to welcome George Barnett to our football program,” head coach Willie Fritz said. “Coach Barnett has a proven track record throughout his career of developing top-tier offensive lineman and we look forward to having him on our staff.”

Barnett arrives at Tulane after he spent seven seasons at Miami (Ohio) University. The Illinois native began his time at Miami as the team’s co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach (2014-15). He was then elevated to assistant head coach/co-offensive coordinator/offensive line coach in 2016. During his seven seasons at Miami, Barnett coached seven All-Mid-American Conference award winners, including Tommy Doyle (first team) and Danny Godlevske (third team) in 2019. In 2016, Collin Buchanan was invited to the NFL Combine and later signed a free agent deal with the New Orleans Saints.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for my family and I,” Barnett said. “I look forward to working with this staff and these young men, as we work toward building a championship program. Tulane football is a program that continues to grow on the national college football landscape and I am thrilled to be a part of its future.”

Barnett’s offensive line’s have been a strong point for the RedHawks’ offense over the past few years. This past fall, Miami’s offensive line paved the way for the Redhawks, as they averaged just under 400 yards of total offense per game. In addition, Miami allowed just four sacks all season – a figure that ranked second in the MAC.

In 2019, despite starting a pair of true freshmen up front, the offensive line averaged 130.9 rushing yards per game and allowed just 31 sacks in 14 games as the RedHawks won a MAC Championship. In 2018, Miami averaged 159.8 yards per game on the ground and gave up just 20 sacks all season long. That same year, Miami averaged over 200 yards per game on the ground in conference games.

Prior to Miami, Barnett spent four seasons at Illinois State as the offensive line coach and running game coordinator and was named offensive coordinator prior to the 2013 season for the Redbirds. 

In his time with the Redbirds his offense averaged 145.7 yards per game on the ground and allowed just 1.3 sacks per game. Their best season came during the 2011 campaign in which they allowed only six sacks in 11 contests, while rushing for 2,017 yards (183.4/game) while helping Illinois State to a 7-4 record. The six sacks allowed that season ranked third-best in the country and the Redbirds produced their first 1,000 yard rusher since 2006. 

Prior to Illinois State he had a two-year stint as the offensive line coach at Division II powerhouse Grand Valley State, which advanced to the 2009 NCAA Division II national title game. In his two seasons at GVSU as offensive line coach, he helped the Lakers’ offense become one of the best in the country. 

In 2009, GVSU ranked third in the country in sacks allowed (.60) after giving up just nine sacks in 15 games played. The Lakers also ranked 11th in the country in rushing offense (227.5 ypg), 12th in total offense (450.1 ypg) and 14th in scoring offense (35.8 ppg). Barnett also mentored senior Nick McDonald, who was a consensus Division II All-American and the GLIAC Offensive Lineman of the Year. 

In 2008, Barnett guided the GVSU offensive line unit that saw all five of its starters earn All-GLIAC honors. The Lakers finished the season ranked 10th in the nation in scoring (38.5 ppg), 13th in sacks allowed (1.08), 14th in rushing (228.4 ypg) and 25th in total offense (429.0 ypg). 

Barnett came to Grand Valley State after a three-year stint as offensive line coach at Indianapolis. The Greyhound offense increased its production every season behind the Barnett-led offensive line. Indianapolis recorded four-year highs offensively in passing yards (234.1 ypg), rushing offense (189.2 ypg) and total offense (423.3 ypg) in 2007. 

Prior to his arrival at Indianapolis, Barnett spent the 2004 season at Illinois, under Harry Hiestand, where he was a graduate assistant and worked with the offensive line for the Illini. Barnett began his coaching career and taught for five years at Mattoon (Ill.) High School from 1999-2003. He served as assistant head coach for the Green Wave’s state semifinalist team in 2003, working as offensive coordinator and the offensive line coach. 

Barnett earned a bachelor of science degree in physical education in 1998 from Millikin in Decatur, Ill. He was a four-year football letterwinner for the Big Blue and earned all-conference. In addition, he was named to the National Dean’s List while at Millikin. 

Barnett and his wife, Lori, have two children, Elle and James. 

THE GEORGE BARNETT FILE
ALMA MATER
Millikin University, 1998, Physical Education

PLAYING EXPERIENCE
1994-97: Millikin University

FAMILY
Wife: Lori
Children: Elle and James

COACHING CAREER
1999-2003: Mattoon High School – Assistant Head Coach/OL
2004: Illinois – Graduate Assistant
2005-07: Indianapolis – Offensive Line
2008-09: Grand Valley State – Offensive Line
2010-12: Illinois State – Running Back Coordinator/Offensive Line
2013: Illinois State – Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line
2014-15: Miami University – Co-Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line
2016-present: Miami University – Assistant Head Coach/Co-Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line

POSTSEASON EXPERIENCE (5)
2008: NCAA Division II Playoffs (Grand Valley State)
2009: NCAA Division II Playoffs (Grand Valley State)
2012: NCAA Division I FCS Playoffs (Illinois State)
2016: St. Petersburg Bowl (Miami)
2019: Lending Tree Bowl (Miami)

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