|Title:||Athletics Director Emeritus|
For more than three decades, David Barger was the driving
force of Carson-Newman athletics. A 1970 C-N graduate, Barger
returned to his alma mater in 1980 as Director of Athletic
Promotions then Director of Athletic Development before being named
AD in 1990. He took on Athletic Director Emeritus
responsibilities in the spring of 2012 following his retirement as
the school's AD.
As athletic director, he oversaw Carson-Newman's move from the NAIA ranks to NCAA Division II (1993-94). Barger has served on NCAA committees and directed numerous NCAA postseason events on the C-N campus in the sports of football, soccer, wrestling and basketball. He played an instrumental role in the renovation of Holt Fieldhouse and the construction of the Maddox Student Activities Center during the 1992-93 sports year. Barger has had significant input in the planning and promotion of the new Burke-Tarr Stadium.
Prior to taking the A.D. post on an interim basis in Feb., 1990, and receiving a permanent appointment in May 1990, Barger had served the Carson-Newman athletic program in many ways. His service to the college dates back to his days spent here in pursuit of a degree.
Following his high school days at Chattanooga Red Bank where he was recently inducted into the school's Hall of Fame, Barger worked as a student athletic trainer while earning a degree in business administration. That area of study was put to good use over the next ten years as he worked as an auditor and controller in the banking industry in Chattanooga and Morristown.
In the years following his graduation, Barger continued to serve the athletic department and Carson-Newman in numerous capacities. He served as vice president and president of the National Alumni Association and president of the Eagle Club. He also served as a member of the Alumni Executive Committee, member of the Board of Advisors and president of the Chattanooga alumni chapter. In 1978, the C-N letterman was presented the Eagle Club's Booster of the Year award.
Barger joined the athletic department on a full-time, professional basis in 1980, when he became the director of athletic promotions. After serving in that role for nine years, he was named the director of athletic development in 1989. Just a few months later, Barger was named interim athletic director and later full-time A.D., replacing Ken Sparks.
Under Barger's guidance, Carson-Newman built one of the SAC's most well-rounded athletic departments, led by a national power football program that won NAIA national titles in 1983, 1984, 1986, 1988 and 1989, and reached the NCAA Division II championship game three times from 1996 through 1999. He was instrumental in transitioning Eagles athletics from NAIA to Division II in 1993.
He helped lead Carson-Newman to several "firsts" as an athletic department within the SAC. Barger saw C-N become the first SAC school to qualify for postseason play in the NCAA when football went to the playoffs in 2003. He named the league's first Senior Women's Administrator when he appointed current softball coach Vickee Kazee-Hollfield to the post in which she still serves.
Barger was also on board when Carson-Newman became the first SAC institution to have a sport other than football advance to an NCAA Final Four when women's soccer made the trip in 2004 and 2005.
For as much on-the-field success that occurred during Barger's tenure, he also made certain the Eagles were doing things the right way off it. He made Carson-Newman the first to request the NCAA Compliance Blueprint Audit to review the institution's internal operation to make certain that it complied with all rules of the NCAA.
Barger's Carson-Newman tenure included SAC Echols Athletic Excellence Awards in 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2010. C-N student-athletes earned SAC Presidents Awards and SAC Athlete of the Year Awards – the league's most prestigious individual honors – eight times under his watch. His career saw participation in intercollegiate athletics at the school increase 20 percent.
Barger also had an ear for the media coverage that Carson-Newman received in the Knoxville, Tenn.-area as Director of Athletic Promotions. Five of his hires as Voice of the Eagles went on to announce at the Division I level (Stan Cotton – Wake Forest; Steve Cotton – Marshall; Bobby Rader – The Vol Network; Jim Freeman – Miami, Ohio and Tulane; and Zeke Beam – Charleston Southern).
In the spring of 2013, he was named to both the Carson-Newman and South Atlantic Conference Hall of Fames.
David resides in Talbott with his wife, Malinda. The Bargers are active members of Manley Baptist Church where David serves as a deacon. They have three children Allyson (Kilgore), Paul and Philip and two grandsons, Taylor and Tanner Kilgore.