Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame’s Bobby Barnes Among Brevard’s Greatest All-Around Athletes
By SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME // September 28, 2020
SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME SPOTLIGHT
ABOVE VIDEO: Bobby Barnes was a high school All-American and started in every football game, baseball game and basketball game Cocoa High competed in every year he attended school there.
BOBBY BARNES – 2013 INDUCTEE
• High School All American
• Two-Time College All-American
• U of F Athletics Hall of Fame
COCOA HIGH SCHOOL GRAD
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – When Bobby Barnes played in his first prep games for the old Cocoa High School in the late 1940s, the United States was emerging from victory in a devastating world war and seeking heroes in and out of uniform.
It was a simpler time in America and Barnes, who was blessed with a keen competitive spirit and an abundance of athletic talent, chose to make his path to the future through his aptitude and love for sports.
There wasn’t a sport offered in high school that Barnes didn’t master. As a football linebacker, Barnes was a three-time All-County and All Orange Belt Conference selection. Chosen the team’s MVP twice, he went both ways and played on the receiving and kickoff teams for four seasons.
He earned All-State status in football as a senior and the Cocoa team honored him as co-captain both his junior and senior years.
Barnes also played in the FHSAA All-Star Football Game as a senior. Barnes made such a strong impression upon generations of sports fans that he was selected in 1985 to the Orlando Sentinel’s All-Time All Brevard County football team as a linebacker.
11 VARSITY LETTERS
In all, Barnes started in every football game, baseball game and basketball game Cocoa competed in every year he attended school there.
Playing basketball, he was a two-time All-Brevard County pick and led the county in assists in his senior season and also picked up the Most Improved Award that same year. Barnes’ high school baseball accomplishments were prodigious.
He was chosen for four All-Brevard County teams and was a four-time All-Orange Belt Conference honoree. He also received accolades as an All-District V recipient and was named as an All-American as a senior.
As a Cocoa Tiger he earned a total of 11 varsity letters, with four in football, three in basketball and four in baseball. His athletic ability resulted in numerous offers from colleges across the country to play at the next level.
Barnes decided to stay close to home and accepted a scholarship offer to play baseball and football for the University of Florida Gators.
In his first season at Florida in 1953, Barnes started at catcher for the Gators baseball squad. His knack for calling pitches behind the plate was exemplary and his solid defense and booming bat led to Barnes being honored as a First Team All-Southeastern Conference selection.
ATHLETIC DIRECTOR & COACH
Military service interrupted his college career taking him away from Florida for two years.
When he returned to the Gators for the 1956 season, he did what was asked of him by coaches and switched positions to play the outfield.
He took up where he left off prior to his stint in the military, and by the time his playing career ended at Florida in 1958, he had been named to three All-SEC and All-Region teams and was a two-time All-American. He is in the UF Athletics Hall of Fame for his accomplishments on the diamond.
After college, Barnes signed a professional baseball contract with the Kansas City Athletics, but professional baseball was not in the cards for him.
Returning to Brevard, Barnes focused on applying his experience and talent to coaching. He served as head football and baseball coach, and athletic director of Cocoa High School for four seasons.
It was during that period that he coached gridiron star Bob Anderson, who went on to be an all-American at West Point and a member of the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2012.
His 1960 Cocoa football team advanced all the way to the state championship game, and for many years, Barnes held the distinction of being the only individual in Florida history to play in the state football championship tournament and coach in the event as well.
Although Barnes now resides in Fort Worth, Texas, his induction into the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame keeps his extraordinary sports legacy alive here in Brevard County.
FOR INFORMATION about the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame Class od 2021, call 321-615-8111 or e-mail Contact@SpaceCoastDaily.com
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