Kory Barnett was expecting to put in two years as a graduate assistant at Indiana and would’ve been willing to stay in Bloomington for his entire coaching career if the situation worked out that way.
But Barnett got a full-time opportunity at another blue-blood program working for family friends he’d known for most of his life, and that was too good to pass up. The Indiana graduate assistant and former Indiana walk-on confirmed Monday that he has taken the video coordinator position at UCLA under former Indiana All-American Steve Alford.
“I had hoped to stay here, but there was not a lot of movement (above the graduate assistant position),” said Barnett, who joined the Indiana program as a walk-on in 2008, Tom Crean’s first year as head coach. “So this was a perfect situation for me to be able to work at a place like UCLA. Coach Crean has been amazing. Since Day 1, he’s been supporting me with this. He told me this is a no-brainer to join a program like that. I feel like I can bring a lot to that program considering what I’ve experienced here from where we were my freshman year. I’ve seen a lot and I’ve learned a lot. I’m excited to learn more from a new coach and to learn different style of play. I’m blessed to have worked with Coach Crean and his amazing staff that made me feel like I was preprared to take this step.”
Barnett said he and his father Mike Barnett, a member of the board of directors of the Indiana Elite AAU program and a consultant with Adidas, have known Alford since the former Indiana All-American took his first coaching job at Division III Manchester College. Though the younger Barnett spent most of his youth in Portland, Ore., he was close with all of Alford’s children and annually attended Alford’s camps when Alford coached at Iowa.
Barnett was also close with Ed Schilling, the former Park Tudor coach who was one of Alford’s first assistant coach hires when he was hired at UCLA at the end of March. Schilling was actually ordained as a minister last year so he could perform Barnett’s wedding last summer.
Barnett said he contacted Alford shortly after Alford made the move from New Mexico to UCLA and told him he’d be interested in any position that might be available. He said the two discussed the possibility on Friday when both were in Atlanta for various coaching seminars, conferences and festivities that surround the Final Four.
Barnett said he will finish out this semester in graduate school and hopes to move to Los Angeles by the middle of May. The video coordinator work will be a bit of an adjustment because he had more of an on-court role and graduate assistant Aaron Weaver and Mike Santa had more film responsibilities, but he’s been working at length with Weaver recently to get a better handle on it.
Regardless, he’s anxious to move from one of the nation’s premier programs to another.
“Moving from a program like Indiana to another program such as UCLA is just unbelievable,” Barnett said. “I haven’t been to UCLA yet, but having been here and having seen how close-knit it is from Fred Glass to President McRobbie on down, I can only hope for the same.”