Barber has spent six seasons as an assistant for the Falcons
Sam Barber enters his first season as the head coach for the Air Force wrestling program. Barber has spent the past five years as a full-time assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the Falcons after serving as a volunteer assistant during the 2008-09 season.
"Sam Barber is highly respected within the wrestling community and amateur sports world for his integrity, class and inspiration to his athletes," said Air Force director of athletics Dr. Hans Mueh, upon the hiring of Barber. "I'm confident that the program will continue to thrive under his leadership."
During Barber's time at the Academy, he has coached 11 national qualifiers, while also making his mark as a recruiter, bringing in one of the top 25 classes in the nation in 2012.
With more than 18 years of coaching experience, Barber's resume also includes a pair of head coaching stints, as well as 10 years coaching at the international level. He served as the head coach at his alma mater, Upper Iowa, and at perennial DIII powerhouse Augsburg College (Minn.). Additionally, he coached 16 national champions and 60 All-Americans in 12 seasons at the Division III level.
Among Barber's recent accomplishments on the international level include serving as the head coach of the 2012 FILA Cadet Pan American freestyle team and the 2013 FILA Junior Pan American freestyle team, which both captured gold medals. Barber is also responsible for coaching Jesus Wilson, who placed second in the 1999 World Team Trials.
Barber arrived at the Academy after working with USA Wrestling as the manager of the National Coaches Education Program. Prior to that, he spent seven years with the wrestling program at Augsburg College, spending four seasons as the head assistant coach before being promoted to associate head coach in 2005 and taking over the reins as head coach in 2007. During his tenure at Augsburg, the Auggies never finished below third place at the NCAA Division III championships, winning national titles in 2002, 2005 and 2007. In 2006, Barber was named the Division III Co-National Assistant Coach of the Year by the National Wrestling Coaches Association.
A 1995 graduate of Upper Iowa University, Barber served as the head assistant coach at his alma mater from 1995-99 before being named the head coach in 1999. Barber also spent the 2000-01 season as a graduate assistant coach at Minnesota State-Mankato, where he earned his master's degree in educational leadership and experiential education in 2004. While there, Barber helped lead the Mavericks to a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Division II Championships in 2001.
Barber and his wife, Danielle, currently reside in Colorado Springs, with their one-year-old daughter, Aven.
What They're Saying:
"The United States Air Force Academy made a exceptional decision in its selection of Sam Barber to be the next leader of its program. Sam is an exceptional coach and a wonderful leader of men. Sam's passion for wrestling and desire to help athletes achieve their goals is unmatched. USA Wrestling is looking forward to working with Coach Barber and his staff as they continue to improve the program."