KISSIMMEE — Katherine Barnhart works at Johnson University Florida as the Administrative Assistant of the School of Education and the Assistant Coach of the girl’s basketball team.
Katherine’s husband, Jay Barnhart, accepted the position as Florida’s first-ever women’s basketball coach in June 2018. Katherine joined Johnson staff in August 2018. She said it has been a joy for them to work together.
This is not their first time coaching together, however, as they both coached teams through Camps for Christ. Camps for Christ is a summer camp program that teaches students aged 7-18 about basketball and Christ. Jay Barnhart started this program at age 19 while still attending Messiah College. These years of experience shape how they now teach the girl’s basketball team.
Katherine calls herself the coach mom. It is not just basketball for them, it is a discipleship opportunity.
“I see myself in a position of just being there for the girls,” Barnhart said. “Whatever their needs are, whether they are personal or basketball related.”
Katherine believes the Lord prepared her for this type of position. She grew up in a small rural town in Amherst, Va. She is the fourth born child out of 14. Growing up, she had to be very independent and hard-working. She was required to grow up quickly and took on a motherly role among her siblings. She was very prepared for life once she left her home.
“It was really a blessing because it was training me to be a leader and an example in my own household,” Barnhart said.
When it was time to have her own kids, Katherine decided to be a stay-at-home mother like her mom. She home-schooled all three of her children.
“I really enjoyed being home with the children to nurture, care and guide them,” Barnhart said.
Katherine enjoys spending her time praying and fasting. From a young age, her parents taught her to prioritize prayer in her relationship with God. It was often her practice to spend time outdoors in reflection and prayer.
She also enjoys writing short stories, poems, parables, and plays. She published her first book, Where are you? Am I dead?: Words of Wisdom with Westbow publishers in April 2018. This book is a result of extensive reflection on the story of Adam and Eve found in Genesis. She hopes to one day direct plays for the benefit of the body of Christ.
When asked what was the highlight of working at Johnson, she said it was the opportunity to work with the girl’s basketball team. Nothing compares to the joy of discipling future leaders. She wants students to know she cares for them and that her door is always open if any student wants prayer.