Barney Eames is about to join some pretty select company.

Eames, a former long-time area football coach who did most of his coaching at Hancock College, is slated to be inducted into the California Community College Hall of Fame Saturday in Visalia, where the CCC Hall of Fame is located.

Eames will join such notables as John Madden, Pete Carroll, Jackie Robinson, Aaron Rodgers, Dick Vermeil, Steve Smith and Tom Dempsey as a fellow inductee into the CCC Hall Saturday.

"I feel very honored to be part of this," Eames said earlier this week.

Mark Gritton of the CCC Hall of Fame said, "Barney is a winning football coach and a mainstay on the Central Coast, particularly in Santa Maria.

"But what I like most about Barney is the lessons he taught beyond the game," Gritton said. "I think he is the kind of a coach who is remembered for a lot of the things other members of this Hall are.

"The members of this Hall are the Apex of this profession, with their love of the game, their love of kinfolk, the examples they provide for the young men in their programs," said Gritton, a now-retired football coach of 28 years at West Hills-Coalinga.

Gritton said, "Seth Damron is the Hancock football coach now, and his grandfather, Duane Damron, is in the CCC Hall of Fame."    

Eames coached at Hancock from 1968 to 1974 and again from 1993-2000. His decorated second stint at Hancock, which included four bowl wins, a berth in the 1999 state championship game and four Western State Conference Coach of the Year honors, almost never got off the ground.

"They hired me on a Monday and at a board meeting the following Thursday, they told me they were going to drop football," said Eames.

"I asked them to give me one year, and they agreed," said Eames. "We went 5-5, and I asked them to give me another year."

The Hancock board acquiesced again, and a particularly profitable time for the Hancock program followed.

The Bulldogs made it to the state championship game in 1999, losing narrowly to top-ranked City College of San Francisco. Hancock beat Ventura in the Western State Conference Bowl to get to the state title game.

Eames was the WSC Coach of the Year in 1994, '96, '97 and 2000. His teams won bowl games in 1996, '97, '99 and 2000. 

The last game Eames coached at Hancock was a 23-20 win for the Bulldogs over College of the Canyons in the WSC Bowl at Canyons in 2000. The Bulldogs turned the tables on the Cougars after Canyons beat Hancock in a close regular season game.

The 1969 Hancock team Eames coached missed qualifying for the state final by one game. "We played against Reedley for the chance to be in the state title game and lost," said Eames. "Reedley beat (Salinas) Hartnell for the state championship. We beat Hartnell pretty good," earlier in the season.  

Eames' Santa Maria Valley roots run deep. He played for Hancock in 1957 and 1958, as an offensive lineman and linebacker. "A lot of guys back then played both ways in junior college," said Eames. "There weren't nearly the numbers on the teams that there are now."

While coaching, "I also taught physical education and health education at Hancock," said Eames. He was a consultant for his successor at Hancock, Kris Dutra, during Dutra's first year as head coach.

Dutra, a former Eames assistant, had a big run himself as Hancock's head coach from 2001-2021. Seth Damron, a former Dutra assistant, completed his second season as head coach in 2023. Dutra is now associate head coach for the Hancock football program.

The Bulldogs won three straight National Division Pacific League championships while Dutra was head coach. They scored back-to-back bowl wins, against San Bernardino Valley College and Mt. San Jacinto during that time.

Damron guided the Bulldogs to a three-way share of the Northern League championship in 2022, and the Bulldogs edged Moorpark 20-17 on a 45-yard Arath Acosta field goal in overtime in a windy Strawberry Bowl at Hancock.

Eames was the Santa Maria High School football coach from 1982 to 1990, and Dutra was his quarterback in 1988. That team made it to a CIF Southern Section divisional championship game.

The Saints made it to a sectional divisional title game twice with Eames as the coach during his first coaching stint there, but lost both times.

Eames coached at St. Joseph for three years in the early 2000s. He coached at Santa Maria for a season in 2006. "They needed someone to step in," said Eames.

Eames said he coached at Righetti for seven seasons after that at the junior varsity level and "as a kind of defensive coordinator," for the varsity in 2013.

Having been out of coaching since, "I miss the games," said Eames. "You always miss the games.

"But as you get older, what you don't miss is the grind," said Eames. "At the junior college level, once the season is over, you get straight into the recruiting season.

"There is no off-season," at the junior college level, said Eames. "The job is year-round." 

Kenny Cress is a sports reporter for the Santa Maria Times, covering local sports in northern Santa Barbara County.  You can send information or story ideas to him by emailing it to  


Sports Reporter

Kenny Cress, sportswriter for the Santa Maria Times since September of 2000. BA in political science from Cal Poly Pomona. BA in journalism from Cal State Northridge.

Recommended for you