Michael Bari (1962-2020), Former LSUE Women’s Basketball Coach
LSUE grieves the loss of former coach Michael Bari
The LSUE and Eunice communities mourn the loss of former women's basketball head coach Michael Bari, who died Thursday due to complications from the coronavirus. He was 58.
Bari was the head coach for a nine-year run at LSU Eunice from 2004-13. His teams finished with a 154-113 record and reached the NJCAA District Finals six times, including an appearance in the NJCAA Final Four in 2007.
He was the winningest coach in women's basketball at LSUE.
"Coach Bari was a part of our athletic department for nine years and had an impact on hundreds of young people that came through the doors," LSU Eunice athletic director Jeff Willis said. "His personality and charisma were something you always wanted to be around."
"He was someone that dedicated his life to the development of young people, and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this difficult time," Willis added.
While in Eunice, his teams were honored four times as NJCAA National Academic All-America teams, with three National Academic All-American players under his watch. He was LSUE's second head women's basketball coach and coached the team to the school's first winning season in 2005.
Michael Bari"It is definitely a shock," former LSU Eunice student-athlete Renotta Edwards said recently to the Eunice News. "I had so much love and respect for Coach Bari. He was a great teacher about life – not just coaching or playing basketball."
"I will always remember the 2007 team when we won so many games (28-6 - finished fourth at the national tournament) and I broke the points record (1,195 points)," Edwards said, who also went on to serve as an assistant under Bari. "That was a special team and he helped us play to our best potential."
A veteran of more than 30 years in the coaching ranks, Michael retired in 2017 after coaching at Salem University in Salem, West Virginia before moving back to Louisiana and settling in Alexandria.
In Eunice, Michael was the host of The Michael Bari Show, a sports talk radio show on KEUN radio. He took the show on the road when he moved to West Virginia, broadcasting in a digital format. Most recently, Michael did play-by-play for the St. Edmund Blue Jay football team on the Bayou Sports Network.
Bari is survived by his wife, Kelle, and two sons, Steven of Albany, New York, and Matthew of Midland, Texas. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no memorial service planned.