Photographer: E. J. Schodzinski
May 23, 2014
By E. J. Schodzinski
ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Jordan Barbina is moving up the basketball coaching ladder at a rapid rate.
After a one-year stint as head coach of the boys program at East Richland Christian High School, the 2009 Union Local graduate has been named the new men’s coach at his collegiate alma mater — Ohio University Eastern.
“I’m truly blessed to have this opportunity,” Barbina said. “Coaching at East Richland Christian last year was everything I expected and more. ERC Athletic Director R.J. Vavrock deserves all the credit in the world for the work he does.
“I’m excited for the new challenges that college basketball brings compared to coaching high school,” he continued. “Playing sports at OUE, more specifically basketball, will allow me to relate and be there for the upcoming student-athletes. I know how good OUE has been for me, and I will preach that to all future attendees. Graduating our student-athletes will be the top priority and winning a championship will come second. I’m thankful for Ohio University Eastern for giving me this opportunity and am extremely excited to coach at my alma mater.”
Barbina began coaching shortly after graduating from high school. He has coached the eighth-grade football team at Union Local Middle School, Union Local High School assistant varsity football and has served as head JV and assistant varsity baseball coach at Union Local. He also led Lafferty to the Ohio Valley Baseball League championship series in the Dodgers’ first year in the league last summer.
Barbina takes over for Donnie Madzia, who stepped down to spend more time with his family. “Those are really big shoes to fill,” Barbina said. “I played for Coach Madzia and have a lot of respect for him. He built a competitive program and I want to keep it there.”
Barbina had an amazing four-year high school career that included first team all-state in football and all-district honors in basketball and baseball. He was a 1,000-point scorer for Ben Porter’s Jets, lettered four years in baseball, basketball and football, and was the Ohio Valley Dapper Dan Male Athlete of the Year his senior season.
“Jordan did a wonderful job coaching East Richland Christian this past year,” said OUE Athletic Director E. J. Schodzinski. “I watched a number of their games and came away from each one impressed with his coaching philosophy, relationship with the players and overall management of the game. I think he has all of the qualities to make a great coach at OUE.
“Jordan will also benefit from the fact that he was a multi-sport athlete at OUE. He knows first-hand that academics are the top priority and that our students play for the love of the game,” Schodzinski added. “I am confident that he will put together a team that will represent us well on and off the court.”
The cupboard isn’t bare either, as all-conference performer Devin Ward, a Bellaire High grad, and Ellis Brown, from Shadyside, will comprise a formidable backcourt tandem.
"We plan to play an exciting brand of basketball featuring a fast break tempo and full court press,” Barbina said. “This will maximize the talents of Devin and Ellis. I can’t wait for the season to get started.”