RCC coach leaves

After seven seasons as the women’s track and field, cross country and long distance head coach at Riverside City College, Mike Barbee accepted the position of assistant coach of the men’s and women’s cross country teams at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

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By Daniel Schmidt / Staff Writer

By Daniel Schmidt / Staff Writer

 

After seven seasons as the women’s track and field, cross country and long distance head coach at Riverside City College, Mike Barbee accepted the position of assistant coach of the men’s and women’s cross country teams at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
 
On the RCC athletics website, Barbee said, “For the past seven years, I had the pleasure of coaching and mentoring outstanding student-athletes, who made all the difference in my daily life.”
 
Before becoming a coach, Barbee started his success in cross country at his alumni Coloma High School.
 
In high school he was a three time all state selection in track and field and cross country. 
 
Barbee went on to be a Western Michigan University graduate and received a degree in science.  
 
During the time spent at Riverside, Barbee was able to boost the women’s cross country and track programs into high gear. 
 
In his first year as coach, he guided the women’s cross country to a sixth place finish at the state finals. 
 
The following year he helped the team improve to a second place finish at the state finals. In the same year he led the women’s track and field team to a twelfth place finish at the state finals. 
 
For the next five years Barbee held the cross country team as one of the top ten community college teams in state. 
 
As for the track and field team, he continued building the program to be a power house team as its best finish was third place at the state finals in 2009.
 
Barbee is now moving on to a Division 1 program and will be Brendon Gilroy’s assistant coach. 
 
On the RCC athletics website, Barbee said “I’ll never hide the fact that my ultimate coaching goal was to become a Division I coach. I’m solely making this move to get coaching experience at the Division I level.”
 
Shortly after Barbee announced his decision to move on to a better opportunity for himself, Riverside’s Athletic Director, Barry Meier decided on who will be coaching the future of the women’s track and field and cross country teams.
 
Damien Smith, who had been a track assistant and working with the sprinters, is replacing Barbee.
 
On the RCC athletics website, Meier said “Damien (Smith) has done a tremendous job in his time as an assistant track coach. I just felt this was his time to become a head coach. He’s proven himself, and now his time has arrived.”
 
Smith has had the experience coaching in high school, college and track clubs.
 
In 2008 Smith was named the state’s assistant of the year.
 
Before becoming an assistant at RCC, Smith was a assistant at North High School, where he helped the school achieve a No. 4 ranking in state. 

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