Former longtime Santa Maria High School girls tennis coach Ginny Barnett will be inducted into the Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Round Table Hall of Fame at the NSBCART's annual awards and induction dinner at the Elks Lodge Wednesday night.

"Absolutely," Barnett said by phone when she was asked by phone if she was surprised by the honor.

"It was quite a shock, for sure. I never though anything like that would ever take place. It's quite an honor."

Barnett's Santa Maria girls tennis teams won multiple league titles, and she guided the Saints to a CIF Southern Section divisional final in 2002. The Saints lost to powerhouse San Juan Capistrano St. Margaret's.

"I think their No. 1 singles player was ranked No. 3 in the country," said Barnett.

Santa Maria made it to the divisional final by beating Los Padres League rival Lompoc in a divisional semifinal at the Minami Center, where the Santa Maria girls and boys tennis teams still play their home matches.

"That was so exciting," Barnett said of the Saints' 2002 semifinal win over Lompoc. "A lot of people were there."

Barnett coached the Santa Maria girls tennis squad from 1991 to 2014. She also coached the Hancock College women's team for a short time and her daughter, Carly, along with the then-Claire Lozano, the then-Lori Robles and some of the other players who played for Ginny Barnett during Santa Maria's run in 2002, played for her there.

"That Santa Maria team went to the (divisional) championship match in the fall of 2002, and I started coaching the Hancock team in the spring of 2003," she said. "We made it to the state final."

Ginny Barnett's husband, Ed Barnett, was a longtime teacher and football coach at Santa Maria. He was also a veteran Hancock assistant football coach.

Ed Barnett retired from teaching several years ago. Ginny Barnett still teaches physical education at Santa Maria. Ed helped Ginny coach the Santa Maria girls tennis squad.

"He and I also assisted (then-coach) Lynn Alexander with the boys team for a few years after I finished coaching at Hancock," Ginny Barnett said.

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Ginny Barnett played tennis at Santa Barbara City College, where she went to school with former longtime Santa Ynez High School athletic director Ken Fredrickson. Her tennis career as a player ended at SBCC.

Ginny Barnett's coaching career began when she was a student Fresno State. "In the spring of 1983, when I was 20, I coached softball," she said.

"I overheard a classmate say she was coaching, and I asked her if I could be a volunteer assistant varsity softball coach at (Fresno) Bullard High."

"Three of us did softball, two did JV and then I did freshman volleyball there, all while going to college at Fresno State."

Ginny Barnett said her first teaching job was at a junior high school, where she taught for one year.

"I started coaching tennis when I got the job at Roosevelt High in Fresno. I started coaching varsity volleyball and JV tennis at Roosevelt.

"That was a weird year in 1991, because I coached varsity tennis at Roosevelt in the spring and then coached varsity tennis in the fall at Santa Maria when I got hired on there."

Fresno-area schools are part of the Central Section. Currently, the Central Section girls tennis season takes place in the fall.           

"Yes and no," Ginny Barnett said about being away from coaching being a hard adjustment to make.

"Ed called my last year (of coaching) a farewell tour. I announced to the (Santa Maria girls) team at spring practice (that the following fall season) would be my last year. I just had to figure out what being out of coaching would look like. That was an adjustment in itself"

Ginny Barnett said, "With Facebook and social media, I've been able to stay in touch with former players. I just didn't have that commitment," to coach.

"Life changes. When you're a grandparent and an empty nester with your husband, your time needs to be there."

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Sports Reporter

Kenny Cress, sportswriter for the Santa Maria Times since September of 2000. BA in political science from Cal Poly Pomona. BA in journalism from Cal State Northridge.