Brian Barnes announced as Duke swimming and diving head coach

Former N.C. State associate head coach Brian Barnes will take over Duke's swimming and diving program.
Former N.C. State associate head coach Brian Barnes will take over Duke's swimming and diving program.

Duke swimming and diving announced Monday that Brian Barnes is its new head coach, just the sixth in program history. 

Barnes will succeed long-time head coach Dan Colella, who passed away from cancer last December after coaching the team for 17 years. 

“I want to thank President Vincent Price, Director of Athletics Nina King and the rest of the hiring committee for this opportunity,” said Barnes in a team release. "I am humbled and honored to follow the late Dan Colella in this role. Dan's passion for the sport and his student-athletes is something that I strive to continue and follow here at Duke.”

Barnes brings a wealth of experience to the program, as he has coached for more than 20 years in the collegiate ranks. Most recently, he was the associate head coach at N.C. State for the past three seasons. In 2022 and 2023, the Wolfpack earned the best combined finish by any school in the country, and the women finished a program-best second in the nation in 2021. 

The Osceola, Ind., native has also been an assistant at Purdue, Auburn, Kansas and Indiana. His lone head coaching experience came at Notre Dame, where he was the women’s coach. Barnes was a three-time Big East Coach of the Year and coached Emma Reaney, who in 2014 became the Fighting Irish’s first NCAA swimming champion. 

“I have been so fortunate throughout my coaching career to have been surrounded by so many amazing swimmers, divers and coaching peers,” said Barnes. “Accepting the head coaching job at Duke is a product of all those influences and I remain humble knowing that not everyone is afforded an opportunity like this.”

He had a successful swimming career in his own right as a seven-time All-American at Indiana. In addition, Barnes was part of the USA Swimming National Team in 1989 and 1992 and qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1992 and 1996.  

“We are absolutely thrilled that Brian and his family are joining the Duke Blue Devil family,” said King. “His passion and knowledge of the sport, along with his compassion for student-athletes resonated with us during the hiring process. He has clearly demonstrated success as a head coach at this level and we truly look forward to Brian getting started in this role. I have no doubt that Brian Barnes is absolutely the right person to build upon Dan Colella's longtime success with Duke swimming and diving.”

Barnes will attempt to lead the Blue Devil women’s team back to the NCAA championships after a successful year and bring the men to the championships for the first time since the 2020-2021 season. 

Ranjan Jindal profile
Ranjan Jindal | Sports Editor

Ranjan Jindal is a Trinity junior and sports editor of The Chronicle's 120th volume.


Share and discuss “Brian Barnes announced as Duke swimming and diving head coach” on social media.