In the latest installment in his "Forgotten Legends" interview series, CHN writer Jon Teitel spent some time with Samford great Steve Barker. Barker is the Bulldogs' second all-time scorer with a total of 1,902 points and career leader in free throw percentage. Barker is now the head basketball coach at McLean County High School in Kentucky.
Jon Teitel: In 1978 you were First Team all-state for an Apollo HS team that went 35-1. Are your memories more about the 35 wins or the one loss?
Steve Barker: The 35 wins made a huge impact on my life. It made me see the power that comes with being a winner: the connections that can be made, how it opens all kind of doors, etc.
JT: What made you choose Samford?
SB: I wanted to go to a D-I school, and I knew that I could play even as a freshman.
JT: In college you led your team in scoring during each of your four years. How were you able to come in as a freshman and contribute from the start, and how were you able to continue to dominate throughout the rest of your career?
SB: My high school coach Wayne Chapman (1968 OVC POY, two-time D-II national championship coach at Kentucky Wesleyan, and father of NBA veteran Rex Chapman) prepared me for D-I basketball. He was a very demanding coach and I learned a lot from him.
JT: In 1979 you were named conference Newcomer of the Year. Did you find the college game very similar to the high school game, or were you just able to make the transition quicker than others could?
SB: I had always played the big guard position in high school and I was a physical player, which made my transition to college relatively easy.
JT: In 1981 and 1982 you were named First Team All-Atlantic Sun. Did you feel like you were one of the best players in the conference?
SB: Yes; I was able to score a lot of points and usually players that score get named to all-conference teams.
JT: You hold the all-time school record for free throw shooting (85%) and consecutive free throws made (42). What made you such a great free throw shooter?
SB: When I was young my father showed me how many points I could average if I made all of my free throws (compared to if I missed a few). After that, I made myself a good free throw shooter.
JT: In 1985 you were hired as coach at LaGrange College. Why did you decide to go into coaching and why did you choose LaGrange?
SB: I received my business degree from Samford but always wanted to influence young players. Athletics can make a grown-up out of you in a hurry, so that was my driving force.
JT: In 2008 you stepped down as coach at Brewton-Parker (a Christian Baptist college) after winning over 400 games. How were you able to win so many games, and why did you decide to step down?
SB: I had good teams because I recruited very good players. I am probably a better recruiter than I am a coach, as I have a knack for developing personal relationships with recruits even before they sign with me. I had learned just about everything you could possibly do at Brewton-Parker as basketball coach, and I just wanted a new challenge.
JT: Currently you are the head boys' basketball coach at McLean County HS in Kentucky. How does coaching high school basketball compare to coaching college basketball?
SB: The biggest difference between college and high school is the fact that in college you can recruit the kind of players that you want in your program, especially at specific positions. In high school, you have to play with whatever players happen to be attending the school at that time.
JT: When people look back on your career how do you want to be remembered the most?
SB: I want people to remember me as someone who loved the game, played it correctly, and coached it professionally. I also hope they consider me to be a good guy who would help any student-athlete achieve his goals in life, whether receiving a degree or playing basketball.
Steve is also on Jon's list of the best fantasy players in Southern Conference history.
Appalachian State: Wayne Duncan (1965) 1,734 PTS (#3), 1,108 REB (#1)
Charleston: Thaddeous Delaney (1997) 1,564 PTS (#4), 1,119 REB (#2), 203 BLK (#1), 54 FG%, All-American, conference Player of the Year
Chattanooga: Willie White (1984) 1,972 PTS (#1), 197 STL (#2), 83.1 FT% (#3), conference Player of the Year
Citadel: Regan Truesdale (1985) 1,661 PTS (#1), 688 REB (#5), All-American, two-time conference Player of the Year
Davidson: Stephen Curry (2009) 2,635 PTS (#1), 221 STL (#3), 414 3PM (#1), 41.2 3P% (#3), 87.6 FT% (#1), two-time All-American, two-time conference Player of the Year
Elon: Jesse Branson (1965) 2,241 PTS (#1), 1,969 REB (#1), two-time All-American, conference Player of the Year
Furman: Frank Selvy (1954) 2,538 PTS (#1), three-time All-American, national Player of the Year
Georgia Southern: Chester Webb (1956) 2,542 PTS (#1), 1,685 REB (#1), two-time All-American
North Carolina-Greensboro: Kyle Hines (2008) 2,147 PTS (#1), 1,047 REB (#1), 185 STL (#3), 349 BLK (#1), 58.4 FG% (#4), All-American, conference Player of the Year
Samford: Steve Barker (1982) 1,902 PTS (#2), 85 FT% (#1)
Western Carolina: Henry Logan (1968) 3,290 PTS (#1), 1,037 AST (#1), 221 STL (#1), four-time All-American
Wofford: James "Daddy" Neal (1953) 2,078 PTS (#4), 1,521 REB (#1)