Bill Barnes, Former Head Football Coach, Passes Away

April 24, 2009

Bill Barnes, who served as UCLA head football coach from 1958 through 1964, passed away on the afternoon of April 23 at Santa Monica Hospital from complications from pneumonia. He was 91 years old and had spent the last two-plus months in the hospital.

In his seven years as head coach (he took over prior to the fourth game of the 1958 season), Barnes compiled a record of 31-34-3. In 1960, led by All-America tailback Bill Kilmer, the Bruins compiled a record of 7-2-1. The following season, the Bruins won the AAWU (now Pac-10) championship and earned a berth in the Rose Bowl, losing to Minnesota, and finished with a 7-4 record.

Barnes played college football at Tennessee, earning All-America honors while playing numerous positions for coach Bob Neyland, for whom Tennessee's stadium is named. The Vols participated in the 1939 Orange Bowl and the 1940 Rose Bowl.

He served as an assistant coach at Tennessee (1941) and Arkansas (1946-49).

During World War II (1942-46), Barnes served his country in the Army, earning the rank of major. He earned two Bronze Stars, a Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, a Philippine Ribbon and an Alamo Scout Commendation for his efforts in the war. Barnes was an original member of the Alamo Scouts, considered by many to be the first U.S. 'special forces.'

In 1950, he came to Westwood as an assistant coach for Henry R. 'Red' Sanders. In 1958, following Sanders' death, he became acting head coach following the third game and was named head coach following the season.

A long-time member of Riviera Country Club, Barnes is survived by his wife, Frances, whom he met while coaching at Arkansas.

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