Barnes’ tenure at UCLA started unexpectedly. After Red Sanders died of a heart attack, George Dickerson took over, but after starting 1-2 in 1958, Dickerson was admitted into the UCLA Medical Center with “nervous exhaustion.” Barnes took over for the final seven games, going 2-4-1, and then led the program for the next six seasons.
In his first three seasons, UCLA went 19-10-1 with a Rose Bowl appearance and two conference titles in the AAWU, but then things fell apart. Barnes slipped to 4-6 in 1962, his first losing season and he was unable to recover.
In 1963, Barnes took another step back with a 2-8 record and went 4-6 again in 1964. After a 10-20 record across three seasons, Barnes resigned after he learned that UCLA would not renew his contract.
The good news about Barnes is that he didn’t do extended damage to the program. In his very first season, Tommy Prothro went 8-2-1 with a Rose Bowl win.