Brent Barker started attending Mount Desert Island girls basketball practices as an 8-year-old. He has missed one Trojan girls tournament game in 20 years. He knows the former players’ numbers by heart.
Few people probably know more about the MDI girls program – except for Barker’s father, Burt, who coached the Trojans for a total of 26 years before resigning in 2003.
After a three-year lag, a Barker is back as the varsity girls coach. The school board voted last week to approve Brent Barker for his first head varsity post, athletic director Bunky Dow said.
Brent Barker is eager to put everything he learned from his father to use, while also striking out on his own.
“At my age I’d like to make a name for myself,” said Brent Barker, who will turn 30 in August. “But at the same time, I’ll use everything I’ve learned from him as best as I can.”
Barker is also the brother of ex-Trojan stars Bracey and Brianne Barker. Brent Barker recalls “hounding” his father to bring him along to practice.
“We definitely picked up the basketball knowledge just from being around [Burt Barker],” he said. “The athletic part of it, the love of sports, we got from my grandfather. It’s really a family thing.”
Burt Barker, who is still a guidance counselor at the high school, resigned from coaching in 2003 to watch Bracey Barker play basketball at the University of Maine. He coached MDI to four Class B state titles, including three straight from 2001-03.
Brent Barker served as the freshman boys basketball coach the last two seasons. Before that he was the girls basketball coach at Conners Emerson School in Bar Harbor, which goes to eighth grade.
Brent Barker, an ed tech at MDI High, is a 1995 MDI graduate. He played basketball, golf, and baseball for the Trojans and went on to play at Northern Maine Technical College (now Northern Maine Community College) in Presque Isle and UMaine-Farmington.
Barker feels one of his strengths is his range of experience in the game. He went from a 5-foot-6 guard on the bench to a 6-2 forward playing on an Eastern Maine Class B title team, and grew another three inches while he was playing in college at NMTC and UM-Farmington.
“I know guard skills, I know big man skills,” he said. “I’ve done both.”
Barker is taking over for Chip Taylor, who resigned at the end of the season after leading the Trojans to the Eastern Maine Class B semifinals.
At the time Taylor said he resigned because of philosophical differences with the school over the suspension of a team member who violated the co-curricular activities policy.
Barker feels he and Dow are in agreement over the school’s expectations of him.
“I think he knows that I’m a young coach and I need all the help and support I can get,” Barker said. “I’m pretty loyal to MDI and I want to win, but I know there are rules I have to follow.”