Darian Barnes is officially returning to the Shore Conference next season.
The former Toms River North standout, who won a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Bucs, was named as the head coach at Colts Neck High School earlier this month.
Barnes was tabbed as Colts Neck’s interim head coach in early November after first-year coach Pete Shaw resigned after the Cougars got off to an 0-8 start, getting outscored 262-70.
“”It’s an honor to be back at the Jersey Shore coaching a team like Colts Neck,” Barnes said. “”The reason I really wanted this job was because of the kids. They really want to work hard and get better, so I’m looking forward to the opportunity.
The 34-year-old Barnes, who attended Rutgers before transferring to Hampton University, played for seven different NFL teams before retiring after the 2008 season. He helped the Bucs win the Super Bowl as a rookie in 2002.
Darian Barnes, recently named the head football coach at Colts Neck High School, talks to 4th and 5th graders at the Allenwood School in Wall in 2003, shortly after he won the Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Bucs.
During his time in the NFL, Barnes played for a long line of great coaches, including John Gruden in Tampa Bay and Bill Parcells in Dallas.
“This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” he added.
Colts Neck had enjoyed success recently under head coach Greg LaCava, who stepped down after the 2013 season.
LaCava had an overall record of 30-23 in five season, going 19-4 in his final two seasons. The Cougars went 102 and advanced to the Central Group IV championship game for the first time.
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