American Football Database
Thomas A. Barry
File:Thomas A Barry.jpg
Barry at Brown c. 1902
Biographical details
Bornc. 1879
Brockton, Massachusetts
DiedDecember 27, 1947 (aged 68)
Hollywood, Florida
Playing career
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Bowdoin (assistant)
Notre Dame
Head coaching record
College Football Data Warehouse

Thomas Austin Barry (c. 1879 – December 27, 1947) was an American college football coach and player, lawyer, and industrial adviser. He served as the head coach at Tulane University, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Denver. Barry attended Harvard Law School and Brown University, where he played on the football team and was named an All-American in 1902.

Early life

A native of Brockton, Massachusetts,[1] Barry attended Brown University, where he played on the football team, and received varsity letters in 1899, 1900, and 1902.[2] He served as the team captain in 1902, and led Brown to its first win against Pennsylvania, 15–6, in which he scored all of his team's points. Barry scored on a 50- and 31-yard run and a 28-yard field goal.[3] It was the first time he had ever attempted to kick a field goal.[4] That season, Caspar Whitney named him to his All-America first team and Walter Camp named him to his second team.[5][6] He also played on the baseball team, and The Boston Post later wrote, "he became pioneer in the art of stealing home and not once in his college career did he fail to beat the throw to the plate. He stole home against Harvard, Dartmouth, and Yale."[4] Barry graduated from Brown in 1903.[5] He later graduated from Harvard Law School.[7]

Coaching career

After graduation from Brown, Barry coached the football team at Bowdoin College in 1903.[4] The following year, he played minor league baseball for Albany in the Eastern League,[8] and coached football at Tulane.[4] During the 1904 season, he led the Olive and Blue to a 5–2 record.[9] Barry coached Notre Dame from 1906 to 1907 and amassed a 12–1–1 record.[10] Several years earlier the Western Conference (now the Big Ten) had denied Notre Dame admission because of its small enrollment. In hopes it would help gain an invitation, Barry ensured Notre Dame followed the Western Conference regulations, but to no avail.[11] In a Notre Dame alumni publication in 1931, an article titled "Coaches Before Rockne" wrote of him:

"Barry had a good system of coaching. He believed in leading his men, never in pushing them, and in giving every man a fair trial, playing no favorites ... A proof of Barry's football knowledge came forward in 1907. The material was terrible and things looked mighty gloomy. He knew his men, however ... the team was tied for championship honors [with Indiana]."[12]

Barry left Notre Dame to take over as the coach of the football and baseball teams at Wisconsin from 1908 to 1910. In football, he amassed a 9–4–3 record.[13] Notre Dame invited Barry back as its head coach, but he declined to pursue his career in law.[4] In January 1911, the University of Denver hired him as its head football and baseball coach,[14] and Barry coached the football team to a 5–2–1 record in his only season there.[15]

Later life and legacy

In 1944, Barry retired from practicing law and moved from Providence, Rhode Island to Hollywood, Florida, where he remained until his death. He died in his home on December 27, 1947 at the age of 68.[1] Barry has been inducted into the Brown University Athletic Hall of Fame.[16] In February 1947, The Boston Post named him to the "All-Time Big Ten" of Brockton athletics, and the article's author wrote "Tom Barry was undoubtedly the most distinguished athlete Brockton has ever produced".[4] Fighting Irish football legend Knute Rockne called Barry "the man who laid the football foundation at Notre Dame."[4]

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Tulane Olive and Blue (Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association) (1904)
1904 Tulane 5–2
Tulane: 5–2
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Independent) (1906–1907)
1906 Notre Dame 6–1
1907 Notre Dame 6–0–1
Notre Dame: 12–1–1
Wisconsin Badgers (Big Ten Conference) (1908–1910)
1908 Wisconsin 5–1 2–1 3rd
1909 Wisconsin 3–1–1 2–1–1 4th
1910 Wisconsin 1–2–2 1–2–1 T–5th
Wisconsin: 9–4–3 5–4–2
Denver Pioneers (Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) (1911)
1911 Denver 5–2–1 3–1–1 T–2nd
Denver: 5–2–1 3–1–1
Total: 31–9–5


  1. 1.0 1.1 VET COACH DIES, Schenectady Gazette, December 27, 1947.
  2. 2009 Brown Football Media Guide, p. 87, Brown University, 2009.
  3. 2009 Brown Football Media Guide, p. 63, Brown University, 2009.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Brown Alumni Monthly, Volume XLVII, p. 18, Brown University, March–April 1947.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Gordon M. Morton III, Brown University Athletics from the Bruins to the Bears, p. 23, Arcadia Publishing, 2003, ISBN 0-7385-1252-4.
  6. Caspar Whitney, The Sportsman's Viewpoint, Outing Magazine, p. 503, January 1903.
  7. Barry to Coach Denver Athletes, The New York Times, January 24, 1911.
  8. OLYMPIC GAMES COMMITTEE TO RAISE $50,000 FOR TRIP. Meeting Held at New York and Plans for Contests in London Arranged--Tryout Meets in East and West, Chicago Daily Tribune, Dec 4, 1907.
  9. Thomas Berry & J. Janvier Records by Year, College Football Data Warehouse, retrieved December 11, 2010.
  10. Thomas A. Barry Records by Year, College Football Data Warehouse, December 10, 2010.
  11. Rockne of Notre Dame: The Making of a Football Legend, p. 30, Oxford University Press US, 2002, ISBN 0-19-515792-3.
  12. Brown Alumni Monthly, Vol. XXXI, p. 155, Brown University, January 1931.
  13. J.A. "Tom" Barry Records by Year, College Football Data Warehouse, retrieved December 10, 2010.
  14. BROCKTON BOY IN NEW BERTH; University of Denver Gets Barry. All-America Halfback When at Brown in 1903. Has Been Coaching at Wisconsin, The Boston Daily Globe, January 25, 1911.
  15. Thomas "Tom" Berry Records by Year, College Football Data Warehouse, retrieved December 10, 2010.
  16. Brown Hall of Fame, Brown University, retrieved December 10, 2010.

External links