Mike Barber (born June 4, 1953) is the leader of Mike Barber Ministries, a religious charity with which he and his wife DeAnne engage in a full-time, nationwide prison ministry, and which they began in 1987. On his television program PRO-Claim, shown on Trinity Broadcasting Network, his wife sings, as he holds services and ministers to inmates in their cells.
Prior to his religious calling, Mike was a successful tight end in the NFL. He was chosen in the second round of NFL Draft by the Houston Oilers (now Tennessee Titans). He played for the Oilers for six years, and then finished his career playing four years for the Los Angeles Rams. According to his website, Mike "holds the record for both teams for the most receptions by a tight end in one season".
Barber was a standout for Louisiana Tech University located in Ruston, La. In High School, he was a quarterback, passing for over 4,000 yards at White Oak (Texas) High School, where he graduated in 1972.
Grace Prep was extraordinarily successful under his tutelage (in various guises, including head coach); during his eight-year tenure there, the team had a winning record every season, and won the State Championship in their division five of those years. However, he was suspended for a year in 2001, and was fired from the Head Coaching position in May 2006 after a dispute with school administrators. He has since focused his efforts on his ministry.
Because several prominent players transferred to Grace Prep along with Mr. Barber (for some of whom he was accused of improperly paying tuition, a claim he denies), TAPPS instituted what is informally known as "The Mike Barber Rule": players who follow a coach to another school are inelegible from playing for a year.
In July 2006, the Dallas Morning News published an article titled "Barber Prison Ministry Spreads The Word -- And The Wealth", which took a somewhat accusative tone, discussing in detail Barber and his various relatives' notably high incomes from his non-profit organization. According to The News,
Also according to the article, "[a]mong officers at about 4,000 groups that filed returns, Mr. Barber's 2003 pay package ranked 13th highest..." and they note that the average pay was "about $97,000".
In his only quoted response in the article, Mr. Barber defends himself simply: