Brian Barnes Replaced as Tesoro's Football Coach

The seemingly popular—and successful—coach is cut loose without public explanation. In six seasons, his teams were 47-23.

Brian Barnes, who successfully transitioned Tesoro High from a Division IX football program to a competitive team in the Southern Section's marquee division, the Pac-5, has been replaced as the program's head coach with one game remaining.

Tesoro, which reached the section semifinals last season and has spent much of this season in the state's top 20 rankings, will end its season on Friday with a nonleague road game against Chula Vista of the San Diego Section.

Tesoro is 6-3 this season, but 1-3 in the five-team South Coast League following a stunning loss on Friday to San Clemente, 29-21. In that game, San Clemente scored three touchdowns in the final four minutes; two of the scores came in the last minute. It was Tesoro's third loss in a row, preceded by losses to El Toro, 41-31, and Mission Viejo, 55-32.

The loss sealed Tesoro's absence from this year's playoffs; instead, the two at-large berths will likely go to teams from the Serra or Trinity leagues.

Before the loss to San Clemente, Tesoro was ranked No. 15 in the state by Cal-Hi Sports.

Barnes could not be reached, but a spokesman for the Capistrano Unified School District said that this was a personnel decision and that personnel decisions are made at the district level, not the school level. The decision was made on Monday.

"John Hall will be the interim coach of the Tesoro football team for the rest of the season," said spokesman Marcus Walton.

Hall is the team's defensive coordinator.

But Walton stopped short of saying that the decision was permanent, and wouldn't acknowledge that Barnes had been fired.

"No one has said that Brian Barnes has been fired as the head coach at Tesoro High School," Walton said.

Walton did not provide much of a timeline for naming a permanent replacement—assuming Barnes isn't coming back. 

"There will be an announcement about the head coaching situation in time for preparation for next year," Walton said.

Barnes will remain a teacher in the district.

The move comes as a surprise to many because of the enthusiastic and optimistic coach's success and apparent popularity. He was, according to one school official, everything that his predecessor, Jim O'Connell, was not.

Though O'Connell led Tesoro in its infancy to a couple of small school championships, the program was 1-9 in 2006. Barnes was brought aboard from Estancia, where he had coached one year, for the 2007 season.

The team went 7-4 his first season, and won the South Coast League title, breaking Mission Viejo's seven-year streak as champion.

The following season Tesoro lost its only game in the section finals, 20-17, to Long Beach Poly.

In six seasons with Tesoro, Barnes' teams were a combined 47-23; prior to that, he coached Estancia to a 7-4 record.

This will be only the second time that Tesoro failed to qualify for the playoffs under Barnes' guidance.

Editor's note: Because of a series of coin flips Tesoro won with two other teams tied with it in the standings, Tesoro made the playoffs.

Lisa miller November 03, 2012 at 11:42 PM
Maybe he will go coach at Los alamitos when his dad retires. And hopefully he will have learned his lesson.
De oppresso liber November 06, 2012 at 08:36 AM
Andromeda you are Brian Barnes, trying to make light your cowardice actions. Hiding behind a fictitious name/s is in-line with your character. Interesting to me how persistent you have been to keep yourself blameless in this dialog. Also how well some people in this discussion know very specific details about you; use hormones or IGF-1 (Human Growth Hormone) and verbally abuses every player who isn't a starter....encouraging players to eat 6 PB & J sandwiches a day, and eat several bowls of ice cream at night. You have no respect for the sport, no respect for the kids and no respect for yourself. You are a coward trying to be a tough guy. As for the intent: 1. The ball was kicked into the in zone, there was no return from El Toro, Therefore, who was Parker Wells blocking for? answer: no one. The intent was to give to kicker Roger Howard, a great kicker, out of the game. I have seen too many unnecessary actions on the field. I love this sport, I have played football and coached football for many years. If we are going to keep this wonderful sport for future generations, let's keep honor and dignity on the field.
De oppresso liber November 06, 2012 at 08:57 AM
Thank you Truth, Barnes needs to find another job or have the administrators from the school district remove him permanently. The people and parents and high school students of El Toro want their administrators to take care of Barnes. El Toro is trusting their officials from the school district to do the right thing. I can only hope for the administrators to do the right thing and permanently keep Barnes and his negative influence away from these young men. I will be watching the actions form the administrators; do not use the union as an excuse from doing the right thing.
KARMA November 08, 2012 at 03:53 AM
While I don't have a player playing Football at Tesoro I have sons who attend or attended Tesoro and have many friends on the football team. I do not know a single player or parent that has an ounce of respect for Coach Barnes. This almost happened at the end of last season and the comments from the former Tesoro player are dead on. Coach Barnes got exactly what he deserved and I think the hit on the El Toro player was a good excuse to remove him. I cant tell you the number of kids that loved football that stopped playing, and one even transferred to another school his senior season so he did not have to play for Barnes. God forbid you were a multi-sport athlete. He would abuse that kid in front of the other players and convince the older players to do the same. Good riddance Coach Barnes, I hope with all the great press you have created for yourself you now have to find a real job. A coach is supposed to be a leader and a great mentor for young athletes and you are neither.
J.P November 21, 2012 at 07:44 AM
Let me begin by saying I have not seen the video. I am, however, a former head coach for a high school football team. My team was a perennial also-ran. But every week I did my best to give my team the best chance at winning. With a powerhouse opponent approaching, I watched film after film of the opponents kicker placing the ball deep in the end zone, meaning each possession would begin at the twenty. With each film watched, the other teams continued to drop back as if they would run a kickoff return. And each time, the whistle blew and the play was over. I changed my kickoff return, inserting fullbacks and linebackers into the front line and sending them forward to hit the opponent while the ball was in the air. And, yes, I saved my biggest, meanest guy to send after the kicker. We knocked him in the mud on the first kick (which went into the end zone afterward), and he was upset and pleading with the referees, to no avail. It was a legal hit because the ball was still in the air when the hit took place. But I never gave the instruction to hurt the opposing kicker. That would constitute a huge difference in my opinion. I definitely wanted to win, but within the rules of the game. That kicker began to place his kicks in play, which was my ultimate goal. I'm not sure if the hit on the opening kickoff was the difference, and quite frankly, I don't care. We still lost, by the way, pissing off the powerhouse team along the way. But I don't regret doing it.


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