Iowa State product will coach Missouri State tight ends in 2013
Bears All-Access caught up with the football coaching staff to break down positions going into the upcoming season.
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Missouri State tight ends coach Ben Barkema begins his second season on the Missouri State sidelines after joining the Bears' coaching staff on Jan. 25, 2013. The Iowa State product also works with the MSU special teams and is heavily involved with MSU's digital recruiting efforts.
In his first season in Springfield, Barkema had the best of both worlds with rugged senior veteran Matt Swan leading the unit, while promising newcomer Gannon Sinclair emerged late in the season to create a dual threat. Swan earned Academic All-MVFC second-team honors after starting all 12 games and snagging a touchdown, while Sinclair earned eight starts at the second tight end spot and finished with three touchdowns.
Sinclair finished his junior season with a two touchdown day in the Bears' win at Southern Illinois, helping him earn MVFC Offensive Player of the Week distinction as well as national tight end of the week honors.
Prior to coming to Springfield, Barkema was the defensive line coach for Upper Iowa University in Fayette, Iowa, during the 2012 season. He also assisted with special teams and video coordination while recruiting the states of Iowa and Wisconsin. His punt return unit ranked third nationally in the NCAA Division II ranks.
He also spent three years (2009-2012) at his alma mater as a graduate assistant coach for the Iowa State Cyclones. In that capacity, he recruited the states of Missouri and Kansas, organized the offensive scout team and worked with the team's linebackers and special teams. He also spent the 2008 season as an offensive assistant coach at Iowa State and helped with the team's tight ends and offensive line.
While at ISU, he coached four All-Big 12 players, including 2011 conference defensive player of the year A.J. Klein.
As a standout player for the Cyclones, Barkema started 36 games at tight end from 2003-07. He caught 52 passes for 566 yards and scored 4 touchdowns during his career.
He matched a career-high with 18 receptions during his senior season in 2007 and completed his college career averaging more than 10 yards per reception. His tenure in Ames also saw him play in the 2004 Independence Bowl and 2005 Houston Bowl.
As a freshman, he had 2 receptions in the Independence Bowl win over Miami (Ohio) and tacked on 3 catches for 24 yards in a narrow Houston Bowl loss to TCU his sophomore season. The Cyclones finished 7-5 during the 2005 campaign, including three overtime losses.
His best individual game came in 2005 when he snagged 3 receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown in a 30-16 home win over Colorado.
He earned Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll status in the fall of 2006 and spring of 2007 and was an Academic All-Big 12 selection in 2007.
Terry Allen was Barkema's position coach at Iowa State from 2003-05. Likewise, MSU offensive line coach Sean Coughlin was on the ISU coaching staff for the 2004 and 2005 seasons during Barkema's ISU playing days.
At the conclusion of his playing career, Barkema was signed by the Cleveland Browns as an undrafted free agent following the 2008 NFL Draft. After his playing days, he returned to Ames for the 2009 season.
A native of Muscatine, Iowa, Barkema was a three-sport prep standout, earning all-state honors in football and basketball while leading his team to the state tournament in baseball. He was also Quad City Times' 2003 Male Athlete of the Year.
He earned his undergraduate (2007) and master's (2011) degrees from Iowa State University. He completed his postgraduate work in educational leadership and policy studies.