John Patrick "Jay" Barrett

6/15/1937 - 8/14/1996

Rugged but compassionate, modest but proud, disciplined but fun-loving, John Patrick "Jay" Barrett was an inspiration to those around him because of his folksy, one-on-one style.

He used his unique motivational skills in the classroom - teaching biology, health and physical education - and in athletics. In 31 years as head coach at Terre Haute Schulte, Rockville and West Vigo high schools, Barrett compiled a l64-l35-4 record, becoming Vigo County's winningest football coach ever. However, amassing records was not Barrett's priority. In an age when sports specialization is commonplace, he encouraged diversity. His unpretentious guidance, often dispensed outside of the arena, made student-athletes better.

John and Margaret (Minar) Barrett's son was a football star at Gerstmeyer High School, where he graduated in 1955, and at Indiana State, where he earned 1958 All-Indiana Collegiate Conference mention as a fullback under Coach Bill Jones. The football, track and swimming squads he coached reflected his competitive zeal. One of Barrett's Schulte football teams was ranked among Indiana's top 10. In the early 1980s, his Rockville team was unbeaten going into the IHSAA football playoffs.

Barrett's family was his foremost passion. When he died at age 59 "with his cleats on" after a West Vigo football practice Aug. 14, 1996, it surprised no one that five of his children and a granddaughter had attended the squad's workout that morning. Since 1900, sports has been a Barrett family tradition. Barrett's namesake grandfather was a Boston Braves pitcher early in the century. The legacy still survives. Barrett's marriage to Nancy Jo Moore, a long-time Rockville Training Center office manager, produced eight sports-minded and active children. All are involved in education or athletics, or both.

The John Patrick Barrett Memorial Scholarship Fund for Vigo County student-athletes was established shortly after his death.

Jay's Accomplishments:

  • All Wabash Valley Fullback (Gerstmeyer, 1955)
  • Captain, Indiana State University Football Team
  • Coached football in four decades
  • Undefeated seasons at Scecina, Schulte, and Rockville
  • Coached track, swimming, and wrestling during his career
  • Taught PE, Biology, Health, and Driver's education during his career