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Barnes Named Ole Miss Hoops Coach

April 9, 1998

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) _ Roderick Barnes became the youngest head coach in the Southeastern Conference when he was appointed to succeed Rob Evans on Thursday.

The 32-year-old Barnes and fellow assistant Russ Pennell were the only two candidates interviewed to replace Evans, who left to go to Arizona State.

Neither Barnes or Pennell had any head coaching experience.

Barnes played at Ole Miss from 1985-88, and was a second-team All-SEC pick as a senior, when he averaged 19 points a game.

Before joining Evans’ staff at Ole Miss in 1993, Barnes was an assistant coach for four seasons at Livingston University. His responsibilities at Ole Miss have included recruiting and scouting.

Evans has called Barnes ``one of the up-and-coming young assistant coaches in the nation.″

Pennell, 37, is expected to join Evans’ staff at Arizona State. He came with Evans to Ole Miss from Oklahoma State, where both were assistants for Eddie Sutton from 1990-92.

During his playing career, Barnes scored 1,201 points, one of only 15 Ole Miss players with at least 1,200.. His 456 assists, 154 steals and a 39.7 3-point shooting percentage still rank among the top five at the school in those categories.

Evans left after transforming Ole Miss, a perennial loser when he arrived six years ago, into an NCAA tournament team the past two seasons. The Rebels tied a school record with 22 victories this season, before being upset by Valparaiso on a last-second shot in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.

Evans had an 86-81 record at Ole Miss, but his last two teams were a combined 42-16 with consecutive SEC West titles and NCAA tournament berths. The Rebels were No. 13 in the final AP poll this season.

Ole Miss will return three starters and four key reserves next season.

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