Marshall to honor Barnett
Heath Barnett left his mark at Marshall Academy, as an athlete and later as a supporter.
“He loved football at Marshall Academy,” said Jerry Moore, a former teammate and fellow member of the Class of 1985. “That love showed as a player and was also displayed by what he donated back to the football program through his business (Bi-County Farm Supply).”
Barnett, who died March 27 of this year at the age of 51, will be honored Friday night during the Patriots’ season-opener when the football field is officially named “Heath Barnett Field.”
Eddie Bain, a member of the board of directors at MA who helps oversee buildings and grounds, said Barnett was an avid supporter of the school and particularly boosted the beauty of the football field itself.
“Chemical, fertilizer, anything we needed for the field, he supplied it and never charged the school,” Bain said. “And our field is recognized as one of the best.”
Anita Barnett said MA football was one her late husband’s favorite topics of conversation.
“The only thing Heath loved talking about as much as Mississippi State and hunting were his days playing football at Marshall Academy and of course how good the field looked after he fertilized it,” she said.
“Our family could not be more touched with the honor of having the field named after him. We are so humbled.”
Moore has fond memories of playing football at Marshall with Barnett, who was a lineman.
“Heath was a very good football player; he was real determined,” Moore said.
“He knew the technique of how to block folks. He was stout and always opening up a hole. He worked at it and mastered his craft.
“He never missed a practice. He was dedicated.”
The Patriots, led by coach Johnny Hill, advanced all the way to the North State championship game in Barnett’s senior season.
“We had a great senior year,” Moore said.
He said when he and Barnett saw each other, “we would always talk about the glory days.”
The Marshall Academy Board of Directors unanimously approved the naming of the field in Barnett’s honor at a recent meeting.
The game starts at 7 p.m. Friday, and the ceremony will be held at halftime.
“Honoring Heath’s legacy is something we are very proud to be able to do,” said headmaster Barrett Donahoe. “We are very thankful for all he and his family have done for Marshall Academy throughout the years.”
Heath and Anita Barnett have two daughters attending MA – Amanda, a junior, and Rosamond, a seventh grader.