Tom Barry is a local legend as coach, administrator and athlete


Tom Barry was selected to the Rome Sports Hall of Fame last week. He has given much of his life to the Rome sports community over the years as a coach, administrator and volunteer, but did you know he was also an outstanding athlete?

I first met Tom back in 1959 as we rode the Catholic school bus together. Tom went to Transfiguration, and I went to St. Mary’s. We fast became friends because of our love of sports.

Tom played varsity basketball in 1971 at Rome Catholic High for Frank Didio. Tom was a Tri-Valley League all-star and also played on the football and baseball teams for the Redwings.

When he graduated from SUNY Oswego, Tom came back home and became a member of the Rome Catholic coaching staff and worked for legendary coach Mike Adey. He was a natural. The kids loved him.

I played in a couple of basketball leagues back in the 1970’s and asked Tom to play with us. He was a great teammate. He was 6’3” and every rebound was his. He was excellent at tip-ins too and could run the floor for a big man. Outlet passes were his specialty. I was on the receiving end of many of those for fast break scores.

Over the years Tom also became a member of the football staff coaching for Mike Davis  and Dennis Skibitski.  The athletes loved his intensity.

Did you know — Tom’s sister is Mary Ann Kenny? She married RCH basketball legend Jim Kenny. 

Did you know — Tom’s dad was also inducted into our RSHF back in 1998?

Rome Sports nickname — Tom Barry “Tee Bear”.

Did you know — Tom has two lovely daughters who were also great basketball player? Kelly and Tricia could actually out shoot their dad.

Tom would have been an outstanding varsity basketball coach but his job at Niagara Mohawk made that almost impossible. He would have been one of the best. I am so happy the RSHF realized what an exceptional man Tom is and are honoring him with this honor.

Congratulations to the other five inductees: Kelly Commerford Cobb, Tom Pugh, Ron Schultz, Tom Neidl and Gerry Staudmyer. I will write about them in future columns.

Food of the week:

Nothing better than a loaf of Italian bread from Ferlo’s Bakery. It’s one of Rome New York’s most delicious treats.

Geek of the week:

LeBron James, his excuse of a hurt hand doesn’t excuse his team getting swept 4-0 by the Warriors.

In passing:

Bob McInerney passed away last week. He was one of Rome’s bravest veterans back in World War ll. He was at D Day on June 6, 1944 where he was involved in an Allied amphibious assault. He got stationed at Griffiss Air Force Base after the war and married the love of his life Maryann Gannon. They had five children who were outstanding athletes. Bob was a great man who was well respected and loved in our community.

May the road rise to meet you, May the wind be always at your back, and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand. — Traditional Irish blessing.


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