Gophers basketball coach takes job at EMU

by Todd Zolecki

The Gophers men’s basketball team lost one of its coaches this week when Milton Barnes accepted the head coaching job at Eastern Michigan on Monday.
Barnes has been the Gophers associate head coach since 1994. He came to Minnesota as an assistant in 1986, leaving temporarily in 1988 to become head coach at Albion (Mich.) High School. He returned to Minnesota in 1991.
Barnes was born in Michgian and was an assistant coach at EMU from 1983-85.
Ben Braun, the Eagles head coach for 11 years, left to accept the head coaching job at California. He guided EMU to the NCAA tournament last season, defeating Duke in the first round before losing to Connecticut.
Tim Weiser, EMU athletics director, said Barnes’ familiarity with the state, his qualifications and his desire to be the Eagles head coach made him the best choice.
“He brought a maturity that I knew the next head coach was going to need based on the kind of pressure that he would feel and the expectations that we have in our program,” Weiser said.
There were about 60 applicants during the national search — which lasted only two weeks — but only six were interviewed.
Weiser spoke with Gophers head coach Clem Haskins several times. He said Haskins complimented Barnes and spoke very highly of him.
Haskins was unavailable for comment.
Stafford out for season
Cheri Stafford, a senior on the Gophers women’s basketball team, had arthroscopic surgery Sept. 13 on her left knee and will likely miss the entire season.
The Ham Lake, Minn., native, who redshirted the 1993-94 season because of a foot injury and has been plagued by injuries throughout her career at Minnesota, is in her fifth and final year of eligibility.
Stafford had her most productive season for the Gophers last year, leading the team in scoring with an 11.4 average and obtaining All-Big Ten honorable mention honors.
Stafford’s injury leaves the Gophers with only nine players on their roster. Junior guard Swantreca Taylor is redshirting this season and Kay Schmidt, a guard on last year’s team left Minnesota earlier this summer.