Matt Barnes

Matt Barnes - Football - Ohio State Buckeyes

position Secondary Coach

Hometown Ijamsville, Md.   

Matt Barnes
Secondary Coach
Ohio State University

Matt Barnes is in his third season on the Ohio State coaching staff and he is in his first season as the coach of the secondary. He previously had also served as the team’s special team’s coordinator. Barnes was hired by head coach Ryan Day in January, 2019, after spending the prior three seasons coaching at the University of Maryland. Barnes has 12 years of collegiate coaching experience.

Barnes has coached on three Big Ten Conference championship teams and two teams – 2019 and 2020 – that advanced to play in the College Football Playoffs. In 2019 Ohio State’s defense led the nation in fewest passing yards allowed (156.0 per game) and also led the nation in pass-efficiency defense with a rating of 97.50.

Barnes served as linebacker coach and specials team’s coordinator while at Maryland. Under his guidance, the Terrapins ranked 18th nationally and third in the Big Ten with a 23.9 yard average on kickoff returns. Maryland had two players – Ty Johnson and Tavion Jacobs – who averaged better than 25 yards per kick return and ranked in the top five in the conference in yards per return. Johnson and Jacobs also returned kicks of 97 and 98 yards, respectively, for touchdowns during the 2018 season. Additionally, Maryland tied for 11th nationally in blocked punts (two) and was 39th in net punting (38.8 yards).

During his three-year stay in College Park, Barnes also mentored second-team All-American and first-team all-Big Ten linebacker Tre Watson this year and another pair of Terp linebackers who garnered All-Big Ten recognition: Jermaine Carter and Shane Cockerille. Carter went on to be a fifth-round draft choice of the Carolina Panthers while Cockerille signed as a free agent with the New York Jets.

Barnes arrived at Maryland after spending the 2015 season at Michigan as a defensive analyst. During his one season in Ann Arbor, the Wolverines ranked first nationally in defensive pass efficiency, third in passing yards allowed, fourth in total defense and 11th in scoring defense.

From 2012 to 2014, Barnes was a defensive and special team’s graduate assistant at Florida. Over his three-year stay, the Gators’ special teams was eighth nationally in punt return average and No. 24 in kick return average (22.6 yards/kick). Florida was also No. 11 in net punting average (43.2 yards). On defense, the Gators ranked 15th nationally in total defense and 10th in defensive pass efficiency during the 2014 season. In two of his three seasons, Florida boasted a top 15-ranked scoring defense.

Barnes spent the 2011 season as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at West Virginia Wesleyan College, where he helped coach Adam Neugebauer to Division II Quarterback of the Year honors and a fifth-place finish in the Harlon Hill voting, which goes to the top player in Division II. Barnes’ offense led the conference in total offense, passing offense, passing efficiency and first downs.

Barnes began his coaching career in 2009 as the running backs coach at Delaware Valley College, before moving on to West Virginia Wesleyan in 2010 as running backs coach.

Barnes is a 2008 graduate of Salisbury University on Maryland’s eastern shore, where he was a team captain and helped the Sea Gulls win three ECAC bowl games and compete in the NCAA Division III tournament in 2007. A fine student, he was a candidate for the academic Draddy Award as a senior. The award is now named the William V. Campbell Trophy and is given to the outstanding student-athlete across all four divisions in college football. His degree is in business.

Matt is married to Christina Holowinsky, who is from Annandale, Md. The couple has a son, Henry.

Matt Barnes Quick Facts
Birthday: May 27, 1986
Hometown: Ijamsville, Md.
High School: Urbana
Alma Mater: Salisbury, 2008 (Business)
Year in Coaching: 13th (Third at Ohio State)
Family: Wife, Christina; and son, Henry

Matt Barnes Coaching Assignments

2020-pres.Safeties/Special Team’s CoordinatorOhio State
2019Special Team’s Coordinator/Assistant Secondary Ohio State
2018Special Teams Coordinator/LinebackersMaryland
2016-17Special Teams CoordinatorMaryland
2015Defensive AnalystMichigan
2012-14Defensive/Special Teams Graduate AssistantFlorida
2011Offensive Coordinator/QuarterbacksWest Virginia Wesleyan
2010Running BacksWest Virginia Wesleyan
2009Running BacksDelaware Valley