One thing that we want to do with OhioPrepScene.com, is look back a speak with former Ohio prep athletes that have stayed in the sports field. Today I spoke with a former basketball standout from Clinton County, Ohio.
East Clinton High School has produced many top athletes. This small country school, located in Lees Creek, Ohio, sits between the towns of Sabina and New Vienna. Sports have always brought the two towns together for one common goal, Cheer the Astros to a victory. I have a little insight of the school, since I attended it for two years as a sophomore and junior. During my two year stay, one of the top hoop stars was Brad Barber. Brad was slick with the ball, and he could pull up and hit the outside shot with the best of them.
At the time, East Clinton didn't have a gym at its high school location. All home games were played in New Vienna, and its small gym. Crowds would come every Tuesday, Friday and sometimes Saturday nights to hear the Astro Pep Band and get a dose of hot hoop action in the Kenton Trace Conference. The KTC would see many hard fought games in the small towns of Jamestown, Cedarville, South Charleston, Yellow Springs, Waynesville and of course Clarksville, home of the Clinton Massie Falcons. While the conference is not the same, you can't take away the memories from those contest.
Brad Barber was a large part of the Astros success. It never failed that when the team needed a outside basket, Brad was there ready to take the shot. Hit or miss, Brad never backed away when his number was called. Being in charged then is no different than today. While Brad is no longer an athlete, he oversees a department at one of the countries top universities. Brad being involved in sports is not a big surprise.
Brad and his brother were raised by a father who loved sports. Mr. Roger Barber still works many high school football and basketball games in and around the Clinton County area. Mr. Barber also does work with Wilmington College athletics in several sports. This background I'm sure helped Brad in his choice of profession in his adult life.
Today, Brad Barber works in college athletics. Since graduation from East Clinton in 1982, Brad has been at the college level either as a student or working in a athletics department. Brad left East Clinton and headed to Rio Grande College. Brad tried his hand at basketball at the college level, but said he learned real fast where he stood as a player at the next level. He served as an assistant basketball coach at the school from 1982-1986, and then left the school to work on his masters in Sports Administration. Brad then worked his internship at North Carolina University, and in 1988 he was hired by the University of Louisville for the position of Assistant Ticket Manager. That changed two years later as he earned the title of Assistant Athletic Director for Operations and Tickets.
While at East Clinton, Brad dated Kim Morgan. The two would marry and now have three children that their raising. Kim works as a school teacher and the three kids keep them on their toes. Ryan is 12 years old and very involved with AAU Basketball and baseball. Kyle is 8 and following in his brothers footsteps also playing hoops and baseball. The youngest is Catie who's 4.
I spoke with Brad about many subjects and here what he had to say.
OPS: Let's go back in time and look at the one player you remember the most from High School.
Brad: That's easy, I remember Steve Cluxton. I not only played with Steve at East Clinton, I had to play against him when he moved to Wilmington his senior year. Steve could play, I think he was scoring around 20-25 points at Wilmington which was a bigger school. If he would have stayed at East Clinton he would have scored 30-40 points a night. He was just that good.
OPS: What game do you remember most from your days at East Clinton?
Brad: I would have to say Cincinnati Summit Country Day. They had a player named Walter McBride playing for them. He went on and did very well at Xavier. I think they were ranked like #1 or #2 in the state when we played them.
OPS: How has high school sports changed since you played?
Brad: Being in Kentucky now, I look at it a little different. Kentucky and Ohio are different when it comes to basketball. But I would have to say the biggest difference has to be the size and speed of today's players and the game itself.
OPS: Do you feel the game is better or worse than in your playing days?
Brad: I would have to say the talent is better overall. There are some things I feel hurts the game. The 3-point line is too close, and I feel the game has lost some of its fundamentals. But overall, the players are more athletic, and that shows with the power and speed the game has today.
OPS: What would you tell a high school student athlete looking to make it in college athletics?
Brad: Go to WORK! Work as hard as you can and hustle in practice and games. Being here at the U of L, I get to see everyday what type of work the best players in the country put into their game. These guys get here as early as 5:00 in the morning, and will shoot 1,000 shots. Then they will go to class and come back for practice. After practice you will see them shooting another 1,000 shots. That's 2,000 every day. That is not counting the lifting they do and all the other drills they work on. I have seen players working as late as 10:00-12:00 at night, just working on their game. They never want to be out worked. If a kid wants to make it at the college level, he's got to be willing to work more than any other player.
OPS: What was the path you took to Louisville?
Brad: I went to Rio Grande College, and did my masters work at Ohio University. I had to intern, so I was always a big North Carolina fan, and headed there as an intern. I then got the job at Louisville (assistant ticket manager) in July of 1988, two years after getting here I was moved up to my current position and have been here ever since.
OPS: You have a big title (Assistant Athletic Director for Operations and Tickets) what is it you really do?
Brad: I oversee all of the tickets for U of L sports. We handle the computer data base which is over 20,000 people. We work with the police, EMS, parking and the pass gates as well as all the behind the scenes work needed to make the game a great experience. Here at U of L we have a policy that Kentucky High School coaches can get two tickets for games. We make sure we have them taken care of and then each of athletes are also able to list four people to receive tickets. So we make sure we have those tickets ready and that goes smooth. Each game we deal with about 1,200 to 1,400 tickets just in this area. Its a little harder than it sounds. We have to stay in compliance with the NCAA, we don't give the players the tickets. We have an area that the people on the list must go, we then check ID and tear the ticket stub and escort them into the game. We also oversee all the financial statements, we deal with about 15,000 of those each year. I'm lucky, I have a great staff of people and things work pretty smooth for the most part. Right now were getting ready for the C-USA Tournament and the ticket demands from our fan's for this big event. I would have to say the biggest thing right now is our new ticket program. In the past you could only get tickets from the U of L. We are now part of a new system ran by Ticket Master that helps make it easier for our fans to buy tickets across the state.
OPS: Do you ever get back home?
Brad: I try, in fact my brother and I try a go to the state championships each year. Our father is always there working and its kind of a tradition with our family. But sometimes it doesn't work out due to our program playing in the NCAA Tournament. That's what happened last year. I had to be here for NCAA's and didn't get a chance to see all the action in Columbus. Maybe this year it will work out and I can make it. It just depends on where were playing.
OPS NOTES: I want to thank Brad Barber for giving us time out of his busy day. It was nice to hear things were going well for Brad, Kim and the rest of their family. I hope Brad gets the chance to come and see the OHSAA Tournament in Columbus this year. I know his father would enjoy that. Brad Barber is just one of many former Ohio prep athletes still involved with sports. They have keep the competitive spirit and work ethic displayed on the courts and fields across Ohio into their adult lives. If you know of a former prep star who is working in the sports field, pass the name and contact information along to OPS and lets see where they are at now, and what they remember from their youth.