Utah State head men’s basketball coach Craig Smith announced on Tuesday the addition of Tramel Barnes to his staff. Barnes is joining the Aggies after a successful coaching and playing career at Southwest Minnesota State, a Division II institution in Marshall, Minn., and is anticipated to fill a role with basketball operations and player development.
“We are thrilled to announce Tramel Barnes will be joining the Aggie family,” Smith said. “Tramel is a dynamic person that has the unique ability to connect with everyone he comes in contact with. Tramel brings enthusiasm, knowledge, organization, class and a tremendous work ethic to Utah State.”
Barnes spent the last six seasons as the top assistant at Southwest Minnesota State, helping the Mustangs to a pair of first-place finishes in the South Division of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference over the past two seasons. SMSU compiled an overall mark of 53-15 over the two-year stretch, including a team-record-tying 28 victories during the 2016-17 season.
Barnes helped to mentor junior guard Ryan Bruggeman to a pair of first-team all-NISC honors over the past two seasons. Bruggeman led the Mustangs last season with 1.9 steals per game as SMSU led the NISC with 6.9 steals per game. Senior center Carter Kirk also earned second-team all-NISC honors last season after leading the league with 10.2 rebounds per contest. In all, Barnes helped Mustang players to six all-conference honors and 24 academic all-conference honors at SMSU.
“I can’t explain how excited I am to be here at Utah State University,” Barnes said. “Coach Smith and his staff are not only exceptional coaches on the floor, but even better people off of it. I am really looking forward to getting to work with our student athletes and I am grateful for the opportunity to be at Utah State University.”
Prior to his coaching career, Barnes played for the Mustangs for two seasons, appearing in 60 games for SMSU and scoring 351 points and tallying 213 rebounds over the course of his career. Barnes finished his career as the sixth-best free throw shooter in school history, converting 82.8 percent from the charity stripe during his playing days. He also played two seasons at Northern State University, appearing in 48 games for the Wolves, including eight starts.
Barnes graduated from Southwest Minnesota State with both an undergraduate and graduate degree in sports management and physical education, respectively.