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These articles, the most recent from the July 26, 2019, McMinnville News-Register, and the oldest from the May 8, 1979, Oregonian, are about or include mention of Linfielder Larry Barnett. From Hillsboro and now a McMinnville resident, he graduated from Linfield in 1968. At Hillsboro High he played for coach Ad Rutschman, a Linfielder. At Linfield he played for another Linfielder, Roy Helser. In the 1979 article note mention of Linfielder Larry Hermo (coached baseball at Yamhill Carlton High 1962-1967).Not mentioned in any of these articles is the connection to Yamhill of Linfielder Paul Durham. His first job, for four years after graduating from Linfield in 1936, was teaching and coaching at Yamhill High School.
Legacy of success
Jul 26, 2019
By LOGAN BRANDON of the News-Register
YAMHILL – John Kuehnel longs to bring a state championship to Yamhill-Carlton High School’s softball program.
Plain and simple.
For 22 years, Kuehnel has managed the Tigers’ team to unrivaled, and equally important, consistent success. Kuehnel’s softball team is one of few Y-C programs with sustained levels of regular and postseason contention.
In recent years, the Tigers’ football, girls’ soccer, girls’ basketball, wrestling and track and field have earned their share of triumphs, yet the softball group’s respectability dates back two decades.
In Kuehnel’s 22 seasons, he’s accumulated 380 wins, which places him ninth on Oregon’s all-time list. The Tigers have qualified for the state playoffs 19 times, meaning Kuehnel’s guidance has resulted in only three seasons without a postseason appearance.
It’s taken an enormous amount of effort, says Kuehnel.
“I coach a lot these girls from when they’re 11 years old on – it’s incredibly important to teach them these skills early in their careers. It takes a commitment, but all of the most successful programs have these talent pipelines,” he noted.
All the work is worth it, he adds. He’s fully committed to his alma mater – to the school he’s been a part of for most of his life.
That’s why adding a state championship to Y-C’s trophy room remains his utmost priority.
“There have been only four state final appearances in our school’s history. We’ve had a few more semifinal appearances, but not very many. If we could become that fifth team, it’d make a huge difference for this team, school and community,” noted Kuehnel.
John Kuehnel attended Yamhill-Carlton High School as a standout baseball player for head coach Larry Barnett. The same Larry Barnett, as Y-C’s athletic director, who later hired Kuehnel to his softball manager position in the ‘90s.
Barnett remains the single greatest sports influence and mentor in Kuehnel’s career. The two formed an impressive working partnership in Kuehnel’s early years as a head coach, leading to their lengthy friendship today.
In Yamhill County, many are familiar with Barnett. He’s considered a softball savant, coaching student-athletes from local high schools. His athletic imprint is left on many championship-caliber programs, including Y-C’s.
Recently, Barnett suffered complications in surgery related to a major heart attack. He’s currently recovering at home, where Kuehnel often visits him.
Asked about his friendship with Barnett, Kuehnel grew emotional. His respect for his mentor is clearly evident as he searches for words.
“I love the guy to death,” said Kuehnel. “I loved playing for him. He’s helped me so much over the years. He’s always been a presence here – he works with all our hitters.
“I feel bad for the state he’s in right now. But I’m hoping he comes back out of it. I’m confident he’ll back in it,” he added.
Once Kuehnel was hired as a softball coach by Barnett, he brought a variety of experience to the position. As an accomplished high school and brief college player, Kuehnel later played modified fast pitch and slow pitch until his daughters reached high school.
When his eldest daughter was a sophomore, Kuehnel took over the program. The team was in desperate need of a culture change.
“We had a pretty successful first year, considering two years before we won only three games. When I took over in ’97, we ended up going 17-7. It was quite a nice year,” he remembered.
In 1998, Kuehnel earned a full-time job with the school district. He handles custodial, maintenance and grounds work for the schools. His proximity to the high school proved a massive benefit to the job, he discovered.
“It’s allowed me to work around my coaching hours. It’s ideal for a guy like me who wants to devote himself to coaching,” said Kuehnel.
Though his career has occasionally proven stressful, any negative aspects are overridden by the opportunity to work with children.
Kuehnel met with the News-Register to reflect on his coaching career and his lofty plans for the softball program.
N-R: What led you to coaching?
Kuehnel: I coached slow pitch and I coached since I was out of high school.
When my old baseball coach, Larry Barnett, contacted me about coaching, I couldn’t resist. I really admire him and he got me into coaching. He’s been my baseball coach and my athletic director, so it worked out for me.
I enjoy coaching. Even after my daughters graduated, I continued doing it.
I really love bringing up the younger groups to eventually play for the high school team. I’ve got a great group at the middle school level, so I’m hoping every sticks it out.
N-R: What’s it mean to coach at your alma mater?
Kuehnel: I told Larry at the start that I wanted to give back. I have a lot to give, so I’m going to give it back to the community I grew up in.
I wanted to give the kids something that they would remember when they get out of high school.
That’s why it’s important we gain that next level of success and reach the state finals. We’ve had a lot of success, but school’s like Dayton have played in the last five championships. We need to draw that level of interest in softball here.
We have a promising future and I’m looking forward to it.
I keep telling our eighth graders that we shouldn’t lose to Dayton anymore. That’s the mentality I want them to take into their careers.
N-R: What are the most important lessons Larry Barnett taught you?
Kuehnel: Perseverance. He always taught us to keep going.
He’s been great for me and I’ll always appreciate his time as athletic director.
N-R: What advice would you give a new coach?
Kuehnel: You have to let things roll – you can’t take things personally in high school softball. There are some pretty wacky parents out there and the kids deal with it in different ways. You have to learn to relate to them and understand where they’re coming from. You have to coach them any way you can – it’s about understanding.
Longevity in coaching is becoming less and less. Parents and players can be more disrespectful today – and even some coaches don’t get it.
Us old coaches let it roll off our backs, but the younger generations don’t want to deal with it. Coaches quit because they don’t want to deal with crazy parents screaming at them all the time.
N-R: What have been your proudest moments as a head coach?
Kuehnel: Getting kids to the next level. I’ve seen a lot of my players play at the college level, and that’s definitely a source of pride. It’s not because of my coaching – I can teach them the fundamentals and finer skills, but they put in the work to make it.
Anyone that tells you a certain coach can get you to college is lying to you. That coach can help you along the way, but a coach cannot do it for you.
For me, I feel like I’m doing my job if the kids are successful in high school and they have the opportunity to move on to the next level. That’s what makes me feel like a successful high school softball coach.
Barnett honored with court bearing his name
Dec 11, 1999
By JOEY SPRINKLE of the News-Register
YAMHILL - Larry Barnett, former baseball and boys basketball coach at Yamhill-Carlton High, was honored Friday as the school named the basketball court where he plied his trade in honor of the coaching great.
"Larry Barnett Court" was christened in Barnett fashion - with a victory. Minutes after the ceremonies, the Tigers went out and rolled to an 81-60 victory over North Marion.
As ironies would have it, Walt Hamer, the head coach of North Marion, was Barnett's junior high coach.
"There's a lot of fond memories here," Barnett said. "A lot of great people and great memories."
Barnett coached the baseball team from 1970-99. His 378-241 record played a big part in his election into the Oregon Baseball Hall of Fame earlier this year.
Barnett took over the boys freshman basketball team in 1970 and coached it for four years before being named head varsity coach in 1970 and leading the Tigers to a 342-312 record before retiring after the '98-'99 season. Barnett's Tigers went to the state playoffs four times in the '90s, including the 1992 state championship.
Barnett said he had opportunities to pursue other coaching vacancies over the years, but never felt a sense to leave Yamhill-Carlton.
"I always said no. There was no reason I could ever come up with to leave," he said.
Barnett continues to be co-athletic director at the school. He said what little time has been freed up, he would like to use to watch the Y-C girls team play some basketball.
"I didn't get a chance to see the girls play much," Barnett said. "Just being around keeps me feeling young. I enjoy still having a part in something here."
Barnett received a standing ovation almost before emcee David Blanchard could finish his introduction.
Barnett was also given a one-of-a-kind ring signifying his championship at Y-C. The Booster Club unveiled a banner that reads, "Welcome to Larry Barnett Court."
Many former players - one from as far away as Kansas City - were on hand to offer congratulations.
"It's such an honor to have someone think of me in this way," Barnett said. "I just want to say thank you."
Baseball coach: 1970-99
Basketball coach: 1974-98
State Basketball Championship, 1992
3A Coach of the Year, 1992
Oregon Baseball Hall of Fame, 1999
Barnett joins elite in high school baseball coaches Hall of Fame
Oct 16, 1999
By STEVE FOX of the News-Register
Former Yamhill-Carlton baseball coach Larry Barnett is being inducted into the Oregon High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame on Friday in Portland.
The ceremony will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the Airport Sheraton.
"Any time you get included with a group of guys that includes Ad Rutschman, Perry Stubberfield, Jack Dunn and Mel Krause, it's just overwhelming," Barnett said. "It's a tremendous feeling to even be mentioned in the same breath."
Barnett, who lives in McMinnville, compiled a 378-241 record in 27 years at Y-C. He also coached basketball and served as athletic director. He officially retired last spring, but is serving as co-athletic director on a part-time basis this year to smooth the transition.
Barnett led the Tigers, often the team with the smallest school enrollment in its league, to seven league championships and 10 state tournament appearances. He was a varsity head coach for 30 years before retiring.
"Y-C has always been a real competitive baseball community," he said. "I wouldn't have stayed there 27 years coaching if I didn't enjoy it. The players are all hard working and the parents were always really supportive."
He joins former Linfield College football and baseball coach Ad Rutschman and former Mac High coach Perry Stubberfield in the hall of fame. Rutschman and Stubberfield are both McMinnville residents as well.
Barnett played for Rutschman at Hillsboro High School before attending Linfield College and playing under coach Roy Helser.
"I know I wouldn't be there if I hadn't played for and known Ad Rutschman," Barnett said. "You can't help but take on a lot of his philosophies in dealing with athletes and people in general.
"A lot of my success came from there. You become a better ballplayer having played for him, and by just knowing him, become a better person."
Barnett coached the Tigers to the state championship game in 1973, but lost to South Umpqua. The game was played in Portland's Civic Stadium.
Barnett has fond memories of his days coaching in the Yawama League. Only the league champ advanced to the state tournament, and his Tigers finished second to Sherwood his first three years despite compiling a 36-6 league record.
His teams went on to win seven of the next nine league titles. Later, Y-C was moved into the Tri-Valley League, then the Val-Co League.
"We always seemed to meet the eventual state champs along the way in the playoffs," Barnett said. "We had a lot of success in the early '70s. Then it got a little tougher when we got put in with Hood River and Gladstone in the Tri-Valley. The Val-Co was equally tough."
Barnett will be accompanied by his wife, Annette, his daughter, Keri, and his son, Brian, for the induction ceremony. "A lot of sacrifices have to be made when you're part of a coach's family," he said.