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McFarlin Accepts BT Job, Barker Out at Roswell

The former Roswell head coach lands across the street, while Barker opts out after his wife was transferred out of state.

Blessed Trinity has its man. Roswell’s man is leaving. And Roswell’s old man is BT’s new man.

Confused yet? You should be, because the football coaching carousel in Roswell is whirling around at about 4500 RPM’s, and it might be hard to follow.

But Wednesday’s events went a long way toward slowing things down as the man who has been at the center of a lot of rumors regarding head coaching vacancies in the area is off the market.

Tim McFarlin, who won a state championship at Roswell but resigned as head coach after the 2007 season, has landed at Blessed Trinity as the replacement for Ricky Turner.

He accepted that job about 24 hours after learning that his successor at Roswell, Leo Barker, had suddenly and surprisingly resigned his head coaching position. McFarlin also interviewed for the since-filled Milton head coaching vacancy, a process that he stepped away from last week.

“I live in that community. I go to church in that community. And sometimes that gets a little too close. That was part of my thinking,” said McFarlin, who is a graduate of Milton High School, but coached and taught at Roswell for 30 years. “Also I had to ask myself – I looked forward to the challenge of being across the field from Roswell but there always would have been a conflict there because I’ve got 30 years invested at Roswell, and I can’t ignore that.”

Instead he accepted BT’s offer, and for the second time in his career McFarlin is taking over for a coach who was entrenched in his position for an extended period of time. In 1997 he took over for Ray Manus, who held the Roswell job for 22 years. Now he takes over for Ricky Turner, who started the Blessed Trinity program in 2001 and has been the only head coach in the school’s history.

“That situation always depends on the head coach that’s leaving, and in both cases you couldn’t have better guys,” McFarlin said. “For Ray it was a natural transition. I was younger then and I didn’t fully understand what was involved with the job. But you hit the ground running and you figure it out as you go. Same thing here. I was looking to get back at a competitive level, and I missed the head coaching deal.”

He said he briefly considered returning to Roswell after learning of Barker’s departure, but it was only a fleeting thought.

“I have to be honest, I thought about it for about two minutes,” McFarlin said. “But you know, we want to enjoy the past, but we don’t want to live in it.”

McFarlin is a good fit in a program that puts a premium on winning but doesn’t have a disproportionate priority on winning over playing the right way.

“He’s not only just a great football coach, he’s a great person,” said BT athletic director and former head coach Ricky Turner. “And that’s big for this school, bringing in a guy who you know is just a good person to have around the kids.”

The Barker situation is a little more complicated as the finalization of a job transfer for Barker’s wife, who works in UPS’s corporate offices, was the catalyst for his resignation. He announced the decision to his team and his assistant coaches on Monday.

Barker was McFarlin’s hand-picked replacement at Roswell in 2007, and Barker had taken the team to the state playoffs in two of his three seasons. But Barker met privately with athletic director John Coen on Monday to tell him the news of his decision, which caught Coen completely off guard.

Had McFarlin not been hired at BT, he certainly would have been a central figure in any replacement talks as he had returned to the Roswell staff as the quarterbacks coach for the 2010 season.

But McFarlin, whose stated reasons for leaving Roswell in 2007 included taking more time for his family, fully understands Barker’s motives.

“Leo Barker is a great human being and he’s a great head football coach,” McFarlin said. “But he’s making a decision based on the right things. It’s his family. His wife has been transferred, and Leo does not compromise those things. I’m sure it’s a hard decision for him, but he’s doing what he needs to do as a husband and a father.”

Barker hasn’t returned phone calls since the news of his resignation broke on Monday.

McFarlin will stay at Roswell for the remainder of this school year to finish his teaching obligations and duties as the school’s golf coach, then he’ll take over the summer workouts at B.T. starting in June. He will teach health and P.E. at BT in addition to coaching the football team.

Wendylin Highfill February 10, 2011 at 02:20 PM
Ack!! I can't believe Coach Barker is leaving us! He is such an inspiration, and a great man! I was so looking forward to my son being under his care for the rest of his time playing football there at Roswell!! Coach Barker, you will be missed very much! Thank you so much for all you have done for us and our boys at Roswell High!! Wendy Highfill (and Chance, too!)
Tim Altork February 10, 2011 at 02:52 PM
It was quite a shock for Roswell, and by all accounts a very difficult decision for Leo.

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