"My message to them was really about staying in the moment," Barnes said. "I told them after the game what I've learned from all this, from a lifetime of it: life's a vapor. It goes by so quick."
After all, Barnes said it seemed like just yesterday that he donned a blue pinstripe suit — the same one he wore to his first press conference as a head coach — as George Mason took on Seton Hall at Rutgers for the 1987 Preseason NIT. Now, in Barnes's 24th season as a head coach, he's hit the 500 win mark, with more than half of those victories (298, to be exact) coming as the head coach at Texas. Barnes hit that milestone with Texas's 84-50 victory over Sam Houston State.
"I'm really well-blessed," Barnes said, simply.
But more often than not, he's created his own blessings.
Barnes has won a portion of three Big 12 titles and has taken the Longhorns to the NCAA tournament in each of his seasons at the helm. He's done that with dominant post players like LaMarcus Aldridge and Chris Mihm, brawling forwards like P.J. Tucker and Damion James, silky wing scorers like Kevin Durant and crisp, leading point guards like D.J. Augustin and T.J. Ford.
"It's great for coach," said freshman Cory Joseph. "He's a great coach. He's had talented players over the years he's been coaching, and I'm just thankful to be a part of his 500th win."
Jordan Hamilton, probably the next in Barnes's line of stars, is averaging 24.6 points per game this season. He said he doesn't expect the coach to mellow out any time soon.
"I think he's getting old, that's all," Hamilton quipped.
Barnes acquired 20 of his wins in his one season at George Mason University before moving on to Providence College, where he went 108-76. In 1994, Barnes took the Clemson job, going 74-48 before moving on to Texas. As a Longhorn, he's won more than 71 percent of his games, going 298-121.
After the Sam Houston State game, guard Dogus Balbay said the team gave Barnes the game ball.
"Hopefully he gets another 500," Balbay said. "It's great to be a part of this."