Yohe was kind enough to share recent stories he wrote for the Daily News. The following are excerpts from the story of Barna being hired as head baseball coach at Thomas Jefferson High School:
By JOSH YOHETime to fast-forward a few paragraphs.
Daily News Staff Writer
Ken Barna is Daily News League royalty, the godfather of modern era
He has been a successful Class A minor league manager, became an
immediate hit while guiding a team in the Federation League, enjoyed
terrific stints as manager at numerous colleges and recently served as
manager Steve Bucci's right hand man during Canon-McMillan's run to the
2008 PIAA championship.
Now Barna, 55, has come upon his next baseball challenge.
Barna, who has known nothing but success during a lifetime of baseball,
is the new head coach at Thomas Jefferson.
"I'm looking forward to it," he said. "I've wanted to be a head coach
for a while and I've reached the time in my life where my schedule
allows me to do it. It's a great situation for me."
Barna hasn't lost his sense of humor over the years. He once was
involved in a public feud with former DNL manager Phil Martell.
According to Barna, Martell recently suggested some assistant coaches
for the TJ staff.
"But I don't think these guys Phil recommended would pass the criminal
background check," Barna said. "I think I'll pick the guys on my own."
Barna is excited about his opportunity to lead the Jaguars. He has been
involved with Bucci for many years, first at South Park and then at
Although the coaches remain close, Barna has been looking for a chance
to be the man in charge. He isn't appreciative of certain schools who
he believes have scorned him.
"(South Park athletic director) Bill Dabaldo is an (expletive)," Barna
said. "There are plenty of other athletic directors who I don't think
much of. I've dealt with a lot of schools over the years, places like
Elizabeth Forward, Yough, South Park. I don't want anything to do with
those people. Having a chance to work with (Thomas Jefferson AD) Bill
Cherpak will be great. He's a great football coach and a great athletic
director. I look forward to working with him."
Not surprisingly, Barna's stint as TJ baseball coach was short-lived.
By JOSH YOHE
Daily News Staff Writer
Ken Barna had big plans for the Thomas Jefferson baseball team.
Only three weeks after being named TJ’s new coach, however, Barna’s
stint has come to an abrupt end.
Barna’s comments in the Dec. 18 edition of The Daily News were not well
received by numerous members of the Thomas Jefferson administration -
to say nothing of Phil Martell and members of the Elizabeth Forward,
Yough and South Park school districts - and he has been dismissed from
“He’s gone,” Thomas Jefferson athletic director Bill Cherpak said.
TJ has once again opened its baseball coaching job and is currently
conducting a search through next Wednesday.
Cherpak said the school would like to act quickly in naming a coach
because the season starts in less than three months.
“It’s not fair to the kids to not have a coach right now so we’re going
to try and get it done pretty fast,” he said.
Multiple sources close to the situation believe comments Barna made
about Martell, his longtime nemesis, are most responsible for TJ’s
decision to look for a new coach.
Barna said last month that Martell had made some recommendations for
his new coaching staff at TJ.
“But I don’t think these guys Phil recommended would pass the criminal
backround check,” Barna said at the time. “I think I’ll pick guys on my
Barna made the comment in a light-hearted fashion and presumably was
looking for a laugh. Martell, though, was not amused and rumors have
been circulating for weeks that he is considering taking legal action
because of the remark.
The history between Barna and Martell is not pretty.
In 2004, Barna told The Daily News that, while he was still coaching in
the Daily News League, he once left Martell, a pitcher having a
horrible day, in a game for an excessive amount of time.
“I left him in the game until he cried,” Barna said in 2004.
Barna also made comments about Elizabeth Forward and Yough’s athletic
departments and used a derogatory word to describle South Park AD Bill
Although it isn’t believed Cherpak was directly responisble for Barna’s
firing, he enjoys a friendly relationship with EF AD Kerry Hetrick.
It remains unknown who TJ will peg as Barna’s successor.
Jeff Rubinsak, a DNL legend who has dabbled in coaching recently, has
already found a new job. He will assist Steve Bucci on the defending
PIAA champion Canon-McMillan baseball team.
Rubinsak had been in line to be Barna’s top assistant at TJ.
Barna was unavailable for comment Wednesday.