Former Nederland quarterback Kevin Barbay now leading Houston offense

Published 12:12 am Friday, January 19, 2024

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HOUSTON — Former Nederland High School quarterback and veteran college coach Kevin Barbay accepted a position this week as offensive coordinator with the University of Houston.

Head Coach Willie Fritz said the hire is pending approval by the UH System Board of Regents.

Barbay comes to Houston after spending the 2023 season as Mississippi State’s offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach. There, the Bulldogs rushed for 1,761 yards – the program’s most in four seasons.

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He also tutored SEC All-Freshman Quarterback Chris Parson, who appeared in a pair of games for the Bulldogs.

Over his last five seasons at Mississippi State (2023), Appalachian State (2022) and Central Michigan (2019-21), Barbay, who served as assistant head coach/wide receivers (2019-20) and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks (2021-23), helped his offenses produce 31 games with 30+ points and 19 games with 500+ yards.

Barbay previously told Port Arthur Newsmedia in 2023 that his offensive game plans are a combination of coaching philosophy and evaluation of on-field talent.

“We all have our beliefs in systems that work,” he said. “It is just a matter of if the personnel fits those beliefs. I’m not a stubborn guy and don’t have a big ego to believe in only one way.”

His goal is to find out exactly what his team’s personnel is needed to best utilize existing strengths to create explosive plays.

“To be honest with you, every week is a little bit different because some games you are playing against an offense that can score 63 points and you have to outscore them,” he said. “Some weeks you need to play time-of-possession, control the clock and manage the game. That is the balance of making sure you are not being hard headed and still figuring out for your guys what’s the best chance to win the game.”

Kevin Barbay


From 2021-22, Barbay’s offenses combined to averaged 448.01 yards per game – ranking in the top 20 nationally. In 2021 at Central Michigan, the Chippewas produced 500+ yards in five different games (10th nationally). In 2022, in his first season overseeing the offense at Appalachian State, the Mountaineers recorded four games with 500+ yards (19th nationally).

Over the last three seasons (2021-23), Barbay has helped mentor an SEC All-Freshman Quarterback, MAC Offensive Player of the Year, and seven All-Sun Belt Conference offensive honorees including a pair of First Team standouts.

In 2022, Barbay’s prolific Appalachian State offense ranked inside the top 25 nationally in scoring offense (No. 23 – 34.9), passer rating (No. 19 – 155.80), yards per pass attempt (No. 18 – 8.4), yards per play (No. 22 – 6.56), rushing offense (No. 21 – 204.42) and yards per rush (No. 21 – 5.18).

The unit racked up 21 plays of 40-plus yards (14 passing, 7 rushing), which was good for No. 8 nationally. The Mountaineers were also highly successful at limiting negative plays, ranking No. 5 nationally in percentage of negative plays allowed (8.28), according to Coaches by the Numbers. Additionally, his unit ranked No. 15 nationally in percentage of first downs plus touchdowns that came on first-down plays.

In 2021, Central Michigan capped a 9-4 season with a bowl win against Washington State, registering 30-plus points in eight different games while averaging g 440.7 yards of total offense per game.

CMU’s Lew Nichols III led the nation with 1,848 rushing yards and scored 16 rushing touchdowns as a redshirt freshman. Through the air, the Chippewas averaged 265.4 passing yards a game while totaling 31 touchdown passes and just 10 interceptions in their 13 games.

During the 2022 NFL Draft, CMU saw offensive linemen selected in consecutive rounds with Luke Goedeke going in the second round to Tampa Bay and Bernhard Raimann hearing his name called in the third round by Indianapolis. It marked the first time since 2010 that the Chippewas had two offensive players selected in the same draft and first time since 2007 the program had multiple offensive linemen taken in the same draft. Goedeke (pick #57) became CMU’s highest offensive selection in nearly a decade.

Hired as a full-time college football assistant at age 25 and Division I football assistant by the age of 28, Barbay also has worked at Stephen F. Austin, Florida, Colorado State and Lamar.

Prior to the COVID-abbreviated 2020 season, Barbay helped CMU post an 8-4 regular season in 2019 and reach the MAC Championship Game as the league’s West Division champion. Kalil Pimpleton and JaCorey Sullivan combined to make 139 receptions for 1,702 yards and nine touchdowns that season.

Barbay made his debut as a college offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Stephen F. Austin in 2018, after he worked at Florida on McElwain’s staff for three seasons from 2015-17. During his one season at SFA, his offense passed for 256.3 yards per game (29th in FCS).

Barbay served as the Gators’ director of player development, as he performed daily evaluations, opponent scouting, practice scheduling and roster management. Florida won back-to-back SEC East Division titles in 2015 and 2016.

He was Colorado State’s director of player personnel under McElwain in 2014 following two years as a wide receivers and special teams coach at Lamar from 2012-13. In 2013, Lamar ranked second in the FCS in punt return average (16.20), ninth in kickoff return defense (16.83) and 15th in blocked punts (2) while his wide receiver unit helped the Cardinals finish 15th in passing offense (288.0).

A native of Nederland, Barbay played collegiately for MVP-winning Super Bowl quarterback Doug Williams at Grambling State. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in exercise science and fitness management from Lamar in 2005 and a Master of Science in education-sport management from Baylor in 2007.