Support Us Button Widget

Meet Forsyth Tech’s first athletic director

Shelly Barnes will be responsible for launching the school’s athletics program.

Person in cream coat with blonde hair and glasses standing at a black podium with a microphone. A blue background is behind them.

Barnes is comfortable on the court and in front of crowds.

Photo courtesy of Forsyth Tech

Forsyth Tech has chosen the person who will lead the launch of its athletics program. Shelly Barnes started her position as Athletic Director in March. She discussed the new role with City Editor Cambridge.

Returning to her roots

Barnes grew up in Randleman (~45 minutes from Winston-Salem) and played volleyball and basketball in college. She taught and coached in the K-12 system and at Lenoir Community College, where she was also the athletic director. Barnes says she’s excited to come home to the Piedmont Triad.

“The opportunity to build something from the ground up is an exciting challenge for me and one I look forward to doing here.”

Selecting sports

Barnes will lead the membership application process into the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). By Aug. 1, she must also determine which sports the school will participate in. When making that decision, the school will look at local facilities that can support competition. The school will also consider which sports locals are excited to watch.

“Obviously basketball and volleyball because we have a facility [the West Campus gymnasium] that we can use there. [...] I think there’s some other hot sports in the area. There’s soccer, there’s cross country, there’s baseball, there’s golf.”

Basketball court with person standing in gray suit on left. A fox mascot is in the middle and a person in a gray jacket with blonde hair is on the right.

Chris Haley, of the National Junior College Athletics Association, (NJCAA) and mascot, Blaze, helped welcome Barnes to campus.

Photo courtesy of Forsyth Tech

The work ahead

Barnes anticipates sports being rolled out in phases. The goal is to recruit students and coaches in time for the 2025 fall or winter season. Barnes’s background as a coach means she has high expectations.

“I’m looking for a polished student athlete that can come in here and can help us be competitive immediately. I’m not really looking for our athletic program to be glorified intramurals, you know. I want us to be highly competitive and a regional contender and even maybe a national presence.”

Barnes says believes sports bring people together. She says Forsyth Tech’s athletics program will be an extension of its education mission.

“We’re all about [...] bringing opportunities and so I hope that the community embraces that.”