Saturday, December 23, 2006

50 GREATEST GOLDEN BEARS - #9 - STAN BARNES

#9 - STAN BARNES - CENTER/TACKLE (1918-1921)
Stan Barnes was the first of several stars from San Diego who formed the nucleus of the greatest teams in California football history.

Clarence "Nibs" Price (Class of 1912) coached at San Diego High following his graduation from Cal, and taught a sophisticated brand of American football at a time when many California high schools were exclusively playing rugby. He encouraged his brightest players, starting with Barnes, to follow his path to Berkeley and play for Andy Smith. Following a stint in the military during WWI, Barnes followed his coach's advice; like the other San Diegans, he too pledged the Sigma Chi fraternity.

The 6'1", 186-pound Barnes was an All-Coast center his sophomore season, which was virtually unheard of in those days. Despite the admonition of Cal graduate assistant Walter Gordon, who cautioned Barnes against over-confidence, he began to coast and earned a place in Smith's doghouse as a junior.

A position challenge, to tackle, gave Barnes a new challenge and renewed favor with the head coach. With coaching from former All-America Gordon (#43 on our list), he quickly became the premier lineman in the Western United States. Barnes caved in opposing lines and was fast enough to personally escort ball carriers into the end zone. On defense, he was reputed to be a savage tackler who broke opposing blocking wedges with relative ease. In those two years at tackle, Barnes and his teammates were unbeaten, suffering only one tie against Washington and Jefferson in the 1922 Rose Bowl. They outscored their opponents 822-47.

After football, Barnes obtained his law degree from Boalt Hall and entered private practice. In those early years he became involved with the California Republican Assembly, a grassroots political organization, and rose within its ranks to become one of the GOP's power-brokers in California. His friend from Berkeley, Earl Warren, remained a confidant, and Barnes was a constant member of Warren's inner circle through his rise to Governor. For his part, Barnes became a Superior Court Judge in Los Angeles, Assistant Attorney General during the Eisenhower Administration, and eventually Federal Appellate Court Judge and President of the Federal Bar Association. During the Eisenhower years, Barnes paid back his old teammate and coach when he recommended to Vice President Nixon that he appoint Walter Gordon as Governor of the US Virgin Islands.

Barnes was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as part of its second class, in 1954. He was the 2nd Golden Bear player to receive such an honor. He was also an inaugural inductee in the Cal athletic Hall of Fame. Stan Barnes died in Palm Springs on March 5, 1990 at the age of 89.

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