September 29, 2021

Find a Way with Brian Barone

Episode 132:

Brian Barone is in his third season as the SIUE’s men’s basketball coach after taking over the position in March 2019. Barone had been an assistant coach for the Cougars the previous two seasons.

The highlight of Barone’s first season came with a historic 79-69 win on the road at Belmont. It was the program’s first-ever win over Belmont and came among five Ohio Valley Conference victories. The Cougars also won road OVC games at Eastern Illinois and UT Martin during the season. SIUE also triumphed over Southeast Missouri and Eastern Kentucky at home. 

Even before coming to SIUE, Barone boasted previous NCAA Division I experience as an assistant as well as stints as an assistant and head coach in the junior college ranks.

Barone’s most recent Division I experience came at Green Bay under current Bradley head coach Brian Wardle. In five years on the Green Bay staff, Barone helped guide the Phoenix to a 95-65 overall record. In 2014-15, Green Bay posted a 24-7 record and claimed the Horizon League’s regular season championship.

While at Green Bay, Barone was instrumental in the recruitment and development of two-time Horizon League Player of the Year Keifer Sykes and second round 2015 NBA Draft Pick Alec Brown. More than 10 Green Bay players from Barone’s tenure went on to play professionally.

Prior to his time in Green Bay, Barone was on staff at Indiana University as the Hoosiers’ director of basketball operations/video coordinator where he worked under his college head coach Tom Crean. He began at IU in 2008 after serving the 2007-08 campaign as the coordinator of basketball operations and video coordinator at Marquette.

Barone’s first Division I coaching experience came at Illinois State. He spent four seasons (from 2003-04 through 2006-07) as an assistant coach for the Redbirds where he helped resurrect a program that had just eight wins the year prior to his arrival.

As a player, Barone played his first two seasons at Texas A&M, playing for his father Tony Barone, Sr. He earned honorable mention all-Big XII accolades as a sophomore following the 1997-98 season when he finished among the league’s top five in assists and steals. He also received GTE Big XII Academic All-Conference accolades as well.

He transferred to Marquette. Barone made his debut in 1999-00 after sitting out one season as a transfer. He served as team captain during his tenure and was also named to the Conference USA All-Academic Team.

Barone earned his bachelor’s degree in communications from Marquette in 2000 and completed his master’s in communications at MU in 2002.

Barone and his wife, Mimi, have a son, Carson, and three daughters, Ava, Gianna and Cecilia.

What you’ll learn in this episode:

  • What ‘Find a Way’ means to Brian and the SIUE Basketball program 
  • Why it was so important to add ‘Family’ to the end of ‘Find a Way’
  • What locking into the beliefs that everything is better together and to never do it alone helped SIUE Basketball grow through all the adversity they faced
  • How Brian leans into each players’ story to put them into the best position to be successful on and off the court
  • What it was like to play 19 games in 43 days, have a 33 day break in mid-season without a game and to only have five team practices after December 21st during the 2020-21 season
  • What it is so important to know your role, embrace your role, and be a star in your role
  • How his players protect the locker room

Additional resources:

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