Big Sky Conference

Portland State awards Barnum a 5-year contract



Football coach Bruce Barnum is no longer “interim” at Portland State.

Portland State athletic director Mark Rountree announced Barnum’s new multi-year contract at PSU at 9:30 this morning at the conclusion of this morning’s practice. It was a popular selection as the team leapt to its feet, cheering, then began chanting “Barny Ball, Barny Ball!” – the team’s slogan for its style play and a tribute to Barnum.

“It is my privilege to announce that Portland State has signed Bruce Barnum to a multi-year contract,” Rountree said. “Coach Barnum has proven he can lead our team to compete at the highest levels, and is committed to developing student-athletes to be successful for the rest of their lives.

“The search committee recognized his strong commitment to integrity and the holistic success of students, which is why he was the unanimous choice for the job. Bruce exemplifies Portland State’s identity of being fearless and determined, and I know he will have a huge impact on our campus and our community.”

Rountree had been working in recent weeks to resolve the head coaching situation at Portland State. The athletics program opened the search and met with candidates, including Barnum. Barnum, who had been the Vikings’ interim head coach since late last November, was given a five-year contract.

“Coach Barnum has made a huge difference in our athletics program in a very short time. His commitment to our student-athletes and Portland State is outstanding and we look forward to continued success,” PSU President Wim Wiewel said.

Barnum has earned quick results in 2015, leading his Vikings to a landmark 24-17 win over Washington State on Sept. 5 – the first-ever win by a PSU team over a Pac-12 team. Then on Sept. 12, the Vikings opened Big Sky Conference play with another road win, 34-14, over then-23rd ranked Idaho State. Most recently, a 66-7 blowout victory over another FBS team, North Texas, shows how far the Viking team has come in one year.

Moreover, the Vikings have shown dramatic improvements in areas where they had come up short in recent seasons, including improved turnover margin, fewer penalties, and a vastly upgraded defense. No. 17 Portland State, now 4-1 on the season, will go into a home matchup with Montana State this Saturday as the top defensive team in the Big Sky Conference, allowing only 11.4 points per game.

Bruce Barnum, is a veteran of 27 seasons of college coaching and 15 years as an offensive coordinator, but this is his first head coaching position. He was named Portland State’s offensive coordinator in 2010. He was an unquestioned success in that role as PSU averaged 200-plus rushing yards per game in each of the last five seasons. In 2013, PSU set school-records for total offense (6,486 yards), offense per game (540.5), rushing offense (3,330 yards), rushing offense per game (277.5) and rushing touchdowns (36) while maintaining balance in the attack with 263.0 yards per game in the air, leading the nation in yards per completion (16.7). Portland State ranked third in the nation in total offense (first in the Big Sky) and third in rushing offense (second in the Big Sky).

Barnum was named interim head football coach on Nov. 26, 2014. Shortly thereafter, he was given a 12-month contract – due in part to the fact that Portland State was still in the search process for a new Director of Athletics.

Rountree was hired a little more than a month later, taking over the Viking program in January.

Barnum is the 14th head coach in the 69-year history of Portland State football and the fourth in PSU’s 20-year history in the Big Sky Conference.

About Colter Nuanez

Colter Nuanez is the co-founder and senior writer for Skyline Sports. After spending six years in the newspaper industry with stops at the Missoulian, the Ellensburg Daily Record and the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, the former Washington Newspaper Association Sportswriter of the Year and University of Montana Journalism School graduate ('09) has cultivated a deep passion for sports journalism during his 13-year career covering the Big Sky Conference. In August of 2014, Colter and brother Brooks merged their passions of writing and art to found Skyline Sports.

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