Barnwell leads team to national title game

Apr 08, 2021

Newman University alumnus Luke Barnwell ’13 has experienced a “once in a lifetime” spring — or maybe it is just the start of a new normal.

After being named the national 2021 Jersey Mike’s Naismith Boy’s High School Coach of the Year last month, Barnwell led his Sunrise Christian Academy boys basketball team to the GEICO high school national championship game in Florida on April 3.

Although Sunrise lost in the tournament finals 62-52 to top-seeded Montverde Academy, it capped off an impressive season for the school. This was the third time Sunrise made it to the GEICO nationals in school history, but in two previous tournaments they failed to win a game.

Barnwel told the Wichita Eagle in a phone interview, “We’re a little bitty school out in Bel Aire, Kansas, and to be up against all of these big-time power schools with these amazing facilities was pretty cool. It’s fun to be the little engine that could that broke into that market with all of the best teams in the country.”

Former Newman head coach Mark Potter recently commented on social media, “Coach Barnwell will someday be the head coach of a Final 4 NCAA team. He is that good of a coach and he is even a better young man. Proud of you Luke.”

Newman’s story on Barnwell’s coach of the year award can be read here.

For media coverage of Barnwell and Sunrise Academy’s national tournament run check: Wichita Eagle and KWCH-TV.