John Barnhill (American football)

John Henry "Barnie" Barnhill (February 23, 1903 – October 21, 1973) was an American football player and coach and college athletics administrator. He served as the head coach at the University of Tennessee (1941–1945) and the University of Arkansas (1946–1949), compiling a record of 54–22–5.

John Barnhill
John Barnhill 1942.png
Barnhill from The 1942 Volunteer
Biographical details
Born(1903-02-23)February 23, 1903
Savannah, Tennessee
DiedOctober 21, 1973(1973-10-21) (aged 70)
Fayetteville, Arkansas
Playing career
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1931–1934Tennessee (freshmen)
1935–1940Tennessee (line)
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
Head coaching record
Accomplishments and honors
1 SWC (1946)
All-Southern (1926, 1927)
SEC Coach of the Year (1944)


Barnhill was an All-Southern lineman under coach Robert Neyland at the University of Tennessee, including the SoCon champion 1927 team. As a player, he weighed 175 pounds.

Coaching and administrative careerEdit

Barnhill was the head coach for the University of Tennessee for four seasons from 1941 to 1945. He coached the team during World War II, managing the squad during the absence of General Robert Neyland who left for the War. During this period he led Tennessee to a record of 32–5–2.

In 1946, after Neyland's return to Tennessee, Barnhill was hired by the University of Arkansas as both head football coach and athletic director. Barnhill gave up the head coaching position in 1949 after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. He continued as athletic director at Arkansas until 1971 and was responsible for hiring legendary head coach Frank Broyles who ultimately replaced Barnhill as athletic director.

Death and honorsEdit

Barnhill died of heart failure on October 21, 1973, at a hospital in Fayetteville, Arkansas.[1]

Barnhill Arena, the former men's basketball and current women's athletic facility at the University of Arkansas, was named for him. Barnhill is a member of both the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame and the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.

Head coaching recordEdit

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs AP#
Tennessee Volunteers (Southeastern Conference) (1941–1945)
1941 Tennessee 8–2 3–1 2nd 18
1942 Tennessee 9–1–1 4–1 T–2nd W Sugar 7
1943 No team—World War II
1944 Tennessee 7–1–1 5–0–1 2nd L Rose 12
1945 Tennessee 8–1 3–1 2nd 14
Tennessee: 32–5–2 15–3–1
Arkansas Razorbacks (Southwest Conference) (1946–1949)
1946 Arkansas 6–3–2 5–1 T–1st T Cotton 16
1947 Arkansas 6–4–1 1–4–1 T–5th W Dixie
1948 Arkansas 5–5 2–4 5th
1949 Arkansas 5–5 2–4 6th
Arkansas: 22–17–3 10–13–1
Total: 54–22–5
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title or championship game berth


  1. ^ "John Barnhill Dies at Fayetteville". The Courier News. Blytheville, Arkansas. Associated Press. October 22, 1973. p. 3. Retrieved March 13, 2017 – via  .

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