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Jack Barry of Athletic Department dies at age 80

Jack Barry, longtime assistant athletic director, and baseball, men's basketball and golf coach, died November 26 in Youville Hospital in Cambridge following a lengthy illness. Mr. Barry, 80, worked at MIT for 38 years ending in 1996.

Mr. Barry came to MIT in 1959 as basketball coach, coach of the junior varsity baseball team and assistant professor of physical education. In 1961 he took over the reins of the varsity baseball program. During his varsity coaching tenure, he guided MIT teams into games 873 times, more than any other coach in MIT's long history of intercollegiate participation. His golf teams earned a remarkable streak of 20 consecutive non-losing seasons.

Mr. Barry also earned the most wins of any basketball coach in the history of the Institute (162-122, .570) and put together eight straight winning seasons from 1960-68. He was the New England College Division Coach of the Year in 1961-62, when his team won a school record 15 straight games, and his 1966-67 team was voted Eastern College Athletic Conference Team of the Year. He also spent eight years as varsity baseball coach, compiling a 44-99-2 ledger. Mr. Barry was integral in increasing MIT's visibility and reputation on an international scale by venturing into competition with both Canadian and European teams.

In 1968, Mr. Barry was named assistant athletic director. He held that post until his official retirement from the Institute in 1987, though he stayed on as varsity golf coach through 1996.

Mr. Barry was a 1942 graduate of the University of Michigan and later received a master's degree from Suffolk University. He served in the Army Air Corps and rose to the rank of captain. He played professional baseball in the New York Giants organization in the 1940s and subsequently taught and coached in Newport, NH and Methuen (MA) High School, where he coached baseball, basketball and football, and where he has been named to the Methuen Hall of Fame.

In 1987, upon his retirement, MIT named the then-recently completed synthetic turf athletic area Jack Barry Field. In 1996 Mr. Barry was honored with the New England Intercollegiate Golf Association Coach of the Year award.

Mr. Barry leaves his wife Lois, sons Chris and John, daughters Gale and Jill Barry-Kennedy and seven grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, his family asks that donations in his memory be made to the Friends of MIT Golf Fund.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 8, 1999.

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