The Crowder College softball team has a new face at the helm.

Joshua Barnes, formerly the softball coach at Angelina College in Lufkin, Texas, was announced as Crowder’s new softball coach on July 28.

Barnes replaced longtime coach John Sisemore, who departed in June to take over as athletics director at Division II Northeastern State. Barnes officially started his duties on Monday.

“Honestly I couldn’t be more excited about this job,” Barnes said. “It’s a homecoming of sorts. I don’t have a direct tie at Crowder except that I’m from the Missouri-Kansas area. I grew up outside of Leavenworth, Kansas. I’ve known Crowder and I know who they play. It’s been one of my dream destinations. When I sat down and looked at where I want to be a college softball coach and I’m going the junior-college route, Crowder has always been there.

“I just never thought it would come open. When it came open, I couldn’t have been more excited about the opportunity. I wanted to be the person they chose.”

The Roughriders went 53-10 this past spring and made their 11th appearance at the national junior-college tournament. It was the first trip to nationals for Crowder since the 2013 campaign.

Barnes was hired by Angelina in 2020 and had his first season cut short due to COVID-19. The Roadrunners’ 2021 campaign was also suspended due to the pandemic.

In his first full season in 2022, Barnes guided Angelina to an impressive 38-16 record with a team that consisted of mostly freshmen.

Barnes hopes that success carries over to a tradition-rich program at Crowder.

“They have been nationally known,” Barnes said. “The brand is out there. One of my goals was to get closer to family, but Crowder’s tradition is something big too. I wanted to go to a top team. I felt like I was at a program where we proved we could be a top team. We came back from a suspension year and almost won 40 games with all freshmen.”

Prior to Angelina, Barnes served a three-year stint at McCook Community College in Nebraska, where his teams were among national leaders in doubles and stolen bases. In 2019, Barnes’ Indians posted a team slugging percentage of .495 with 32 homers and 126 doubles, scoring 382 runs in 62 games to average 6.1 runs per game.

A Potter, Kansas native, Barnes played baseball at the University of Saint Mary’s in Leavenworth where he was an outfielder and pitcher. During his playing career, Barnes earned two KCAC Gold Gloves (2010-2011), a 2nd Team All-KCAC Outfielder award (2010) and was selected to the All-NAIA Gold Glove team in 2011.

Barnes graduated from Saint Mary with a degree in elementary education and sports management. He received his Master of Science in Kinesiology-Sports Management degree from Central Missouri.

Prior to his stint with MCC, Barnes was a fifth-grade teacher for four years at Fort Leavenworth as well.

Barnes didn’t sugarcoat his immediate goals at Crowder.

“I expect us to win Region 16,” Barnes said. “That’s what I want. That’s what we are going to do. We are going to start there and then after that we have to take care of business in districts. When you get to nationals, anything can happen.”

But Barnes said reaching those lofty goals won’t be an overnight process.

”Is a (coaching) change hard? Yes. Change is always hard because you are getting a new program and new style,” Barnes said. “You have to get the players bought in, especially when it’s late like this. But I want to continue this program’s success.”

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