Former Razorback quarterback Barry Lunney Jr., has been named the tight ends coach for the University of Arkansas Razorbacks, head coach Bret Bielema announced Tuesday.
“In the world of college football there have been numerous examples of high school coaches joining a college coaching staff and making an immediate impact,” Bielema said in a statement issued Tuesday (Jan. 15). “Barry has experienced success through his seven years as a college coach and at the highest levels in high school. He understands the demands of being a college coach, and the championship teams he helped lead at Bentonville High School routinely produced one of the state’s top offenses.”
Bielema said Lunney’s time as a Razorback, in which he led the team to an SEC Western Division title, will serve as “a tremendous bridge to fill the gap between this coaching staff and all of our former letterwinners, high school coaches in Arkansas and the entire state.”
Lunney, who grew up in Fort Smith and played quarterback for the Southside Rebels, most recently has served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Bentonville High School since 2005. Lunney’s father is the Bentonville head coach.
He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Arkansas before coaching at Tulsa and as the co-offensive coordinator at San Jose State.
In his eight years at Bentonville, the Tigers won 78 games, including 25 straight in 2010-11, played in four state championship games, claiming state titles in 2008 and 2010, and won six straight 7A West Conference crowns from 2007-12. Bentonville played in each of the last three 7A state championship games and won at least 12 games in four of the last five seasons.
Before moving to the high school coaching ranks, Lunney compiled seven years of collegiate coaching experience. His coaching career began with two seasons as a graduate assistant at Arkansas. In 1998, Arkansas won its first eight games and rose to No. 9 in the national rankings on the way to sharing the SEC Western Division title and earning a berth in the Florida Citrus Bowl. Lunney served as the Razorbacks’ running backs coach for the bowl game and throughout the spring of 1999. Arkansas spent the majority of the 1999 season in the top 25 of the national rankings and finished the year with a 27-6 win over No. 14 Texas in the Cotton Bowl.
After his time as a graduate assistant, he spent three seasons at Tulsa, first working with quarterbacks in 2000 and 2001 and then moving to wide receivers in 2002.
Lunney was hired from Tulsa to be the co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at San Jose State.
As a player for the Razorbacks, Lunney lettered from 1992-95, starting 40 games at quarterback, and was a team captain on the 1995 team that played in the SEC Championship Game for the first time in school history. In his first game as the starting quarterback, he led Arkansas to an upset win at No. 4 Tennessee.
He left Arkansas holding UA career records for passing yards, passing touchdowns, pass completions, pass attempts and total offense plays.
Lunney also played baseball at Arkansas. He was drafted by the Montreal Expos out of high school in 1992 and by the Minnesota Twins in 1996 and played one season of minor league baseball in the Twins organization.
Lunney graduated from Arkansas in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology. He and his wife, Janelle, have two sons, Luke and Levi. His grandfather, John lettered at Arkansas from 1946-49.