Colorado recently lost a beloved member of its’ coaching circle. Longtime Teacher & Coach Ray Barron passed away in October. That fact has been a difficult one to accept. It is difficult to accept because Ray was one of those special men that we just expect to always be around.
Some things strike us in our spirit… more than in our ability to explain it. Those of us that knew him agree….He was a constant. He was reliable. He was “on duty” every day. He was a WORKHORSE in the most complimentary form.In his 70 years, he must have done 120 years’ worth of laborious tasks for his school and family.
I met Ray in 1983. He was my first faculty friend at Heritage High School, and he welcomed me to the coaching profession. During that time, we did life together. We raised families together, celebrated many victories together, and consoled young athletes after heartbreaking defeats….together.
Regardless of the scenario, perspective was always important to him. He said the right things to kids. Always. He always downplayed accolades, but deserved & received many. He has been inducted to multiple Halls of Fame along with his tireless work in several capacities as a CHSCA officer and multi-committee chairman.
Coach Barron cleverly promoted his beloved sport of wrestling to a generation of youth who might otherwise have veered away from the work and physicality. He knew how to build a great wrestling program. He was the consummate assistant football coach as well, and it was during our gridiron seasons together that I realized who he was at the core. We coached in over 400 football games together in nearly 40 years, and throughout it all, I believe the best descriptor of this man would warm his heart in heaven today…Ray Barron was a born worker.
This not a title that comes easily. He lived it as an example for kids. He lived it in the wrestling room, in the weight room, on the football field, in his classroom, and at home on the “ranch” with his chores. He also lived it as a husband, father, and friend.
I write this today to honor and salute Coach Barron. He has been and always will be, an inspiration to myself and thousands of others. While I hope he is Resting in Peace, I fully expect he might be doing a bit of work up there in heaven, just to help out any way he can. Cuz’ that’s just Ray Barron.
I miss you Coach. The Colorado teaching & coaching profession will most certainly miss you as well.
Mike Griebel, Thomas Jefferson High School
To carry on the traditions and beliefs of Coach Barron, his family has set up the “Strength & Honor” Scholarship Foundation, awarded annually to a deserving Colorado HS wrestler. Please consider contributing to it at RBStrengthandHonorFund@gmail.com