Edward Leo Barry
Edward Leo Barry
Hometown: New London, NH
Team: Special

Edward Leo Barry
Hometown:
New London, NH
Sport:
Special
Year Inducted:
1980

Edward Leo Barry established himself as one of the nation’s finest swimming coaches during his 18 years on College Hill. His overall record of 76-67-1 was deceptive in that approximately half of his defeats came at the hands of two Eastern powers with substantially better material – Yale and Harvard. In 11 of his 18 seasons, Barry’s teams won the New Englands, including an unprecedented nine straight N.E. titles between 1932-40. There were also four second place finishes, two thirds, and one fourth. Coach Barry also produced a string of swimmers who ranked with the very best, men such as Mark Coles ’26, Ray Hall ’31, Frank White ’33, Bill Lewis ’34, Fred Lee ’35, Matt Slotysiak ’40, Bob Schaper ’41, and Carl Paulson ’46. A native of East Providence, young Leo Barry was the top swimmer of his day in this section. Yellowed files show that on July 17, 1909 he won the 50-yard backstroke, the 100-freestyle, and then conceded handicaps up to 60 seconds and won the 440 freestyle. After graduating from East Providence High, he attended Mt. St. Mary’s in Emmittsburg, Md., graduating in two years and then enrolling at Mt. St. Joseph’s in Baltimore to prepare for a medical degree. Then came World War I and service in the Army, after which he coached at Mercersburg Academy, did camp work, and became head coach at Brown in 1924 after the death of Charlie Huggins, long-time swimming coach. Leo Barry’s most cherished victory came in 1939, when his Bruins ended Harvard’s long winning streak at Cambridge. The Bruin coach jumped into the pool that night, clothes and all! The Bruin coach was the third man in the country to become a Red Cross worker in the field of life saving. He was president of the College Swimming Coaches’ Association when he died in his sleep at Chateau du Barry at Camp Wallula in New London, N.H., on Aug. 12, 1943. His friend, athletic director Wally Snell ’13, said: “Leo had a great technical knowledge of the sport and a broad human interest in his boys. He was a second father to many of them. Leo was probably the least criticized coach in Brown history; some thought him to be the best.”