Brian Barnes joined the NC State swimming and diving staff as an associate head coach in August 2020. 

He came to NC State following two seasons as an assistant coach for Purdue's men's team. Prior to that, Barnes served as the leader of the Notre Dame women's program from 2008 to 2014. 

While at Purdue, Barnes helped orchestrate two relay records and the Boilermakers' first relay medal since 2009 at the 2020 Big Ten Championships. The team set benchmarks in all five relays during his time in West Lafayette. Purdue set nine records - six program and three freshman - during Barnes' first season as assistant coach in 2018-19. That season, three relay teams qualified for the NCAA Championships where the team placed 23rd overall.

As the Notre Dame women's head coach, Barnes was a three-time Big East Coach of the Year, and he took the program to new heights on the conference and national stages. The Fighting Irish women won the Big East team titles in 2009 and 2010 before making the move to the Atlantic Coast Conference. He coached two Big East Most Outstanding Swimmer honorees and saw his student-athletes win 42 individual and relay titles in the Big East.

During a strong 2012-13 season, Barnes helped the Fighting Irish place a program-best 16th at the NCAA Championships, a mark that was tied by the women the next season.

After Notre Dame moved to the ACC at the start of the 2013-14 campaign, Barnes helped guide Emma Reaney to the 2014 NCAA title in the 200-yard breaststroke, Notre Dame's first NCAA champion in the pool. Reaney set NCAA and American records in the event after being named 2014 ACC Women's Swimmer of the Year.

In total, Barnes coached 21 All-Americans, 168 all-conference citations, 45 conference event titles and 24 NCAA qualifications while at Notre Dame.

Barnes also previously spent three seasons as an assistant at Auburn, helping the Tigers sweep the men's and women's NCAA team titles in 2006 and 2007. While he was on the staff, Auburn won a combined five Southeastern Conference titles. Barnes aided in guiding his swimmers to 291 All-America honors, including 11 individual and six relay national titles. 

At Auburn, Barnes coached under all-time greats David Marsh and the late Richard Quick, who stand among the winningest coaches in collegiate swimming history. Both men were multi-time United States Olympic swimming team coaches and are members of the International Swimming Hall of Fame. Marsh and Quick combined for 25 NCAA team titles. While working under Marsh and Quick, Barnes helped mentor five Olympians.

A native of Osceola, Ind., Barnes completed his collegiate swimming career at Indiana, where he was a seven-time All-American for the Hoosiers. He qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1992 and 1996 and was also a member of the USA Swimming National Team in 1989 and 1992. In addition to making a coaching stop at Kansas, he served as men's assistant coach for his alma mater from 2002 to 2005.

Barnes is the father of two children, Jack and Caroline.