GREEN TOWNSHIP, Ohio — La Salle High School baseball coach Roosevelt Barnes announced Thursday he has accepted the Wilberforce University head baseball coaching position.
"I enjoyed my time at La Salle and I'm very proud of what we accomplished there," said Barnes, who was named the Lancers coach in October 2019. "We have great talent there and I look forward to continuing my relationship with those young men as they look to extend their baseball careers beyond high school. I will always be a part of La Salle baseball."
La Salle athletic director Brian Meyer said assistant coach Trey Aultman has been named the interim coach for the Lancers for the 2023 season.
The team had a 14-11 record this past season including two Division I postseason tournament victories. The Lancers earned second place in the Greater League League South division this past spring.
Barnes has coached in the Greater Cincinnati high school scene for nearly 20 years and serves as a Recommending Scout for the Cincinnati Reds. He will continue to work for the Reds and lead the senior RBI program.
"I consider myself to be an ambassador for the game of baseball and I look forward to working with all of my fellow high school coaches in the area on providing an additional opportunity for our local kids to play in college," Barnes said.
"Cincinnati is a great baseball town and I want to showcase that by providing opportunities with a keen emphasis on local talent."
The Wilberforce University project is a partnership with the Major League Baseball Reds Community efforts, Barnes said. He said it is the first of its kind in the country. Wilberforce will compete in the NAIA Mid South Conference.
"I don't believe an MLB team has ever partnered with an HBCU with a holistic approach to the total quality of life for the student-athlete," Barnes said. "That is what the relationship with Wilberforce and the Reds Community is all about."
Barnes said his vision includes the opportunities for student-athletes to have internships and careers related to baseball.
He hopes other MLB teams follow the lead of the Reds to engage communities and build "major-league citizens."
"I'm thankful to La Salle for allowing me to be the first African-American GCL baseball coach," said Barnes. "I'm additionally thankful to the Cincinnati Reds and Wilberforce University for allowing me to execute my vision to better the lives of young men through baseball. I'm beyond blessed to be a part of this and I'm excited for the possibilities for the young men we engage."