Whitman Barnes will not return to UNCW in 2017

Noah Thomas | Sports Editor

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In a statement released Wednesday, UNCW’s Whitman Barnes has decided that he will not be returning to the baseball program for the 2017 season.

Barnes, a redshirt sophomore this season, pitched 32 innings in 23 appearances. He started three games for the Seahawks, most of which came toward the end of the season when he usurped Justin Crump as the weekday starter on the mound.

While his decision involves him no longer playing baseball, Barnes will continue to be enrolled at the university. He will graduate from the Cameron School of Business in the fall with a degree in accounting.

The New Bern native’s decision not to return was not a simple one. After many talks with family and the UNCW coaching staff, he came to the conclusion that returning would not be in his best interest.

A potential internship with an accounting firm posed too great an opportunity for Barnes to get a head start on his professional career.

“I never really was going to chase a pro career or anything like that, so having the opportunity to go ahead and get my career started was a big deciding factor,” he said.

The timing of the announcement coincides with the end of UNCW’s season, one that ended at the hands of South Carolina in the NCAA Tournament’s Columbia Regional. Despite not disclosing his decision until yesterday, Barnes said that he made up his mind more than a month ago.

“I had made this decision a month or so back,” he said. “I told them (the coaching staff) then and they were sad to see me go, but understood it was in my best interest. My teammates were the same way.”

His final appearance in a Seahawk uniform was in a 10-1 loss to South Carolina. He threw 92 pitches in relief against the Gamecocks over the course of 4.1 innings.

He finishes his career with a 7-2 record and a 4.41 ERA.

Barnes said that he will cherish his time at UNCW and how he will miss the crowds at Brooks Field.

“It was a phenomenal experience playing for UNCW,” he said. “We have fans unlike any other. I will always be thankful for my coaches and my teammate for being there for this entire process.”


You can follow Noah Thomas on Twitter at @iNoahT for news and updates on UNCW athletics.