Barnes, 23, succeeds Vermillion at Gate City | Sports | #sports | #elderly | #seniors
GATE CITY — Even though the Gate City boys basketball team will have a new face leading the way in the winter, it will be a familiar one to folks around the program.
At Tuesday’s Scott County Board of Education meeting, John-Reed Barnes was named the new head coach of the Blue Devils.
The 23-year-old Reed takes over for longtime coach Scott Vermillion, who resigned from the post on April 1 to take the principal’s position at Gate City in the fall.
“There’s a whole lot of different emotions I’m going through right now,” Barnes said in a telephone interview. “First off, I’m very thankful for the community, school and all the people that have helped me get to this point. My dad is my greatest role model in life, unquestionably.
“Probably the next biggest role models are the people who were part of the basketball community. All those men like Coach Vermillion, Chris Fugate, Greg Ervin and so many others were role models for me.
“Coach Vermillion has been very good to me over the years and he’s been like a second father,” Barnes said.
Barnes, a 2020 graduate of East Tennessee State, adds the basketball position to his already busy schedule at Gate City.
In addition to being a full-time world geography teacher, Barnes is the current boys tennis coach.
“Everything has been so wild because of COVID,” Reed said. “We were limited in what we could do.”
Barnes was previously an assistant coach for the 2020 Gate City girls basketball team that won the Class 2 state title over Luray.
“I would be remiss if I didn’t say that Kelly Houseright had a huge role in this,” Barnes said. “Those two years that I spent with the girls team helped me along so much and I cannot thank her enough.”
In his playing days at Gate City, Barnes was a combo shooting guard/small forward on a Vermillion team.
Barnes scored 1,087 career points and averaged 15.8 points and 8.0 rebounds per game his senior year. He was a three-time Conference 40 first-team selection and a two-time 2A West Region first-team pick.
He earned second-team all-state honors as a junior before moving up to the first team as a senior. Barnes helped the Blue Devils to a state runner-up trophy as a freshman and the final four as a senior.
He also competed in tennis and golf for the Blue Devils, finishing as the Class 2 singles runner-up in 2016.
“I always hoped that the next person after Coach Vermillion would know what it meant to wear that jersey,” Barnes said. “I’ve been other places and I believe that Gate City is a unique place. You can’t replicate the fans, the passion in the gym or the heart of the kids in the program.
“I’m emotional and thrilled because I’m helping build on an amazing culture that Coach Vermillion has already built.”