Yelm High School boys basketball coach Jordan Barnes is headed from one Class 3A program in the South Sound to another.
From Yelm to Lakes. From the 3A South Sound Conference to the 3A Pierce County League.
“It was definitely hard, but I’m happy,” Barnes said. “I live two minutes away from Lakes High School, so it made sense.”
Barnes officially resigned Monday evening and announced his move via Twitter. He thanked Yelm’s current and former players, coaches, administrators, parents and community members for their support.
Yelm athletic director Ron Barnard said he spoke to Barnes over the weekend and has started the process to find his replacement.
“He and I had a good conversation, and I told him I support him 100 percent,” Barnard said. “I’ve been down that road, too. Being closer to home and around kids is a priority.”
Barnes coached at Yelm the past four seasons, compiling a 33-51 record, and led the Tornados within one game of the Class 4A state regionals in 2016.
He has sent several athletes on to play at the college level from Yelm, including current Lewis-Clark State guard Christian Davis, who was The Olympian’s All-Area player of the year in 2016.
“The town is built on sports,” Barnes said. “The amazing athletes, the kids, they never quit. They were probably the most well-rounded individuals I’ve ever coached.”
Barnard said he is reaching out to the WIAA and the West Central District, as well as some other local connections, and intends to fill the job by the end of May for summer workouts.
“I look at somebody that is willing to connect with the kids and utilize the skills we have,” Barnard said. “You can’t come in with an offense and defense and try to mold the kids to that. It’s the other way around. This is your talent. How do (you) create plays that best use the talent?”
Barnes will join Lakes as its third coach in three years, pending approval. He replaces Gabriel Van Guse, who led the Lancers to an 8-14 record and a district-tournament berth in one season.
Lakes athletic director Scott Nordi said Barnes’ coaching experience at different high school levels — C-team, junior varsity and varsity — and different school levels, including Kentwood (4A), Yelm (3A) and Washington (2A), were appealing.
“We liked the experience that he brought,” Nordi said. “His track record has been one of high character, and we liked that, and we’re excited to move forward.”
Barnes said he plans to continue running the up-tempo style he ran at Yelm, and hopes to return Lakes’ program to the caliber it was in 2011, when it won a 3A state title under Jo Jo Rodriguez.
“I’m hoping that I can hang out there for quite a while and build something back up,” Barnes said.
Nordi said he thinks Barnes will come in and bring a positive air to the program.
“He definitely has the skill set and runs the system that fits the kind of kids we have,” Nordi said. “We’re excited to see what he can do. We feel that we’ve got athletes here at Lakes, and he can work with those kids and make some exciting things happen.”