Spain Park names new basketball coach

Spain Park High School boys' basketball coach Neal Barker, pictured with his wife Caitlin, was recently promoted as the Jaguars' head coach. (File)

By WESLEY HALLMAN / Sports Editor

Spain Park High School assistant boys’ basketball coach Neal Barker was chosen from a field of 60 applicants to replace outgoing head coach Brian Moon.

Barker has served on Moon’s staff for the last five years.

Barker has also served on the football coaching staff at Spain Park. In addition, Barker has had coaching stops at Paulding County High School in Dallas, Ga., Cherokee County High School in Centre, Ala., and Alexandria High School in Alexandria, Ala.

Barker played multiple sports at Alexandria High School and was part of the 1997 Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 4A state championship boys’ basketball and football teams.

Barker played basketball collegiately at Jacksonville State University from 2000-2002. Barker currently teaches in the science department at Spain Park and also holds a Masters in Educational Leadership from the University of Montevallo.

Barker’s values as well as his knowledge of basketball and the Spain Park community helped set him apart from the other candidates, said Spain Park Principal Chris Shaw.

“Neal has done an incredible job at Spain Park High School,” Shaw said. “The community trusts Coach Barker as a person and to maintain the atmosphere Coach Moon has put in place.”

Moon announced he was leaving the school for a head coaching position at North Forsythe High School in Cumming, Ga., last month.