Waterloo East Principal Fights for National Title - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waterloo East Principal Fights for National Title


At this Peak Performance martial arts practice in Waterloo all you hear are the grunts and strikes of two dozen young competitors preparing for the biggest event of the year. Among those hoping to bring home championship hardware is a 35 year-old high school principal.

But this isn't your average educator with advanced degrees---Dr. Willie Barney is an accomplished athlete.

Barney who holds a second degree black belt in Taekwondo is a rare combination of strength--he regularly bench pressed 575 pounds while playing football at UNI..speed and flexibility.

Dr. Barney was away from martial arts for awhile--but recently returned when his children started training and he wanted to lose some weight. But over time the old competitive juices started flowing and the Fighting Principal decided to train to take on the best.

Since Dr. Barney will probably be stronger than most of the athletes he will compete against at nationals

Peak Performance head coach Master Russ O'Connell has the "Fighting Principal" training against smaller, quicker opponents.


At his day job as the Waterloo East High School principal-- Dr. Barney is a role model in the weight room and in the office. Barney sandwiched earned his Masters and Doctorate degrees between a short professional football career. Education and athletics have always been important to Barney--and he believes taking on this Taekwondo challenge is another way to send a message to young people.

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