Holy Cross community mourns loss of longtime swim and diving coach Barry Parenteau

In the 80s and 90s, when Barry parenteau coached the future Sainte-Croix women’s swimming and diving team and her father, Paul, guided the men’s team of HC, Barry’s wife, Valley, operated the competition timing system at the Hart Center swimming pool, and their young children were tracking the times at the coaching office, where Barry’s mother, Lorraine, typed the results.

“It was really a family effort,” Dale recalls in an interview Monday afternoon.

For more than 50 years, Paul and Barry Parenteau were the patriarchs of swimming and diving at Sainte-Croix.

Barry has coached the Holy Cross women’s team since its inception in 1975 and took over the men’s team in 1996 when his father, who started at HC in 1965, retired. During his 43 years with the programs, Barry has cultivated the family atmosphere that he, Dale and his parents have created, and has truly invested in the lives of his athletes with care, appreciation and encouragement.

“Right before each meeting he would say, ‘Touch the ones you love’,” said Ian hennessey, who swam for Holy Cross from 1999-2003 and was then one of Barry’s assistants, “and we were all on the bridge together, putting our hands up in applause. It has always brought us together. To this day, some of my best friends are swimmers from Sainte-Croix. “

Barry, who retired from Holy Cross in 2018 and entered the HC Varsity Club Hall of Fame in 2019, died last week after a valiant battle with cancer. He was 70 years old.

Barry grew up in Worcester and got his start in swimming at the former YWCA, located opposite St. Paul’s Church, under the guidance of his father and American Olympian. Coralie O’Connor. He was a lifeguard at Coes Pond, a short walk from his parents’ house, and the Bennett State Pool. He graduated from St. John’s High.

Barry was a record swimmer at Bridgewater State. While coaching the HC women part-time, he taught special education in Worcester public schools. He assumed a full-time role at Holy Cross in 1983, when he was appointed director of aquatic sports for the newly opened Swimming and Dive Center at the Hart Center.

“If you look at the photos of Barry standing next to his father, he was the other half of Barry,” Dale said. “He and his father were so close and he was very proud to be a part of his father’s world and to be successful in it. “

Barry and Dale raised their children in Millbury. Their daughter, Kaley, died in 2014. Barry leaves a son, Sean, and the girls Oldest boy and Malen. On Thanksgiving weekend, Malen got married and her very proud father, Barry, offered the bride.

Barry and Dale celebrated their 41st wedding anniversary on December 27.

“It was nice to have this day together,” said Dale. “He was the love of my life and it was just meant to be and it lasted.”

Since Barry’s passing, Dale has said the sympathy, support and appreciation from his former St. Croix swimmers – a table full of flowers, a basket full of cards, tributes on Facebook – has been staggering.

“So many swimmers from all eras posted on Facebook,” said Coleen lynch, a 1995 HC graduate and swim record holder, “and everyone is heartbroken because he really made a lasting impact on everyone, me included.

“At the same time,” said Lynch, “when you think of Barry, you smile. He had a heart of gold and he was always positive no matter when or where you saw him. For me he was part of the institution, part of Sainte-Croix. “

Barry and Dale hugged his athletes and opened their home to them. Dale and their children accompanied Barry and the Crusaders on preseason training trips.

Barry’s 241 combined wins in the men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs rank eighth among all coaches in Holy Cross history. He has been the MAAC Women’s Swimming and Diving Coach of the Year three times. Barry has coached eight future HC Hall of Fame inductees, including Callie Taffe, who was Holy Cross’s first All-American woman in 1981.

Barry was a staunch supporter of his athletes.

“He was passionate about everything he did,” said Ann ash zelesky, retired St. Croix Athletics Assistant Director / Senior Administrator, who has worked with Barry for 26 years. He was one of the first people to welcome her to Holy Cross when she joined the athletics department in 1989. “He has touched so many lives and his legacy will live on forever through all who are lucky enough to have the chance. to have known him. ”

In addition to coaching his teams and running the HC Pool, Barry was an always friendly face at other Hart Center events, such as the men’s and women’s basketball games. He was known for his affability, his “cheerful spirit” as Zelesky put it, his empathy and his frankness.

“If you wanted an honest answer to a question, you would ask Barry the question,” said the longtime Holy Cross head coach. Jeff Olivier. “You might not always like his response, but you knew it was real. He was always the first on the line when you needed help and the first to offer support when things weren’t going well. It was one of a kind and the essence of what Sainte-Croix had been for the past four decades.

Barry was also a longtime high school football official and a 38-year-old volunteer with the American Red Cross.

Hennessey, who coached with Barry from 2006 to 2016, said Barry had an effective ability to reach, motivate and communicate with each of his swimmers.

“He knew what to do for each swimmer based on who the swimmer was,” said Hennessey. “It was incredibly impressive.”

When Hennessey was a record high school swimmer in Rhode Island, he went to see Barry and the Crusaders compete in a URI competition.

“It was the team that seemed to be having the most fun,” said Hennessey. “I wanted to go to college and keep swimming, but focus on my studies and find a balance where swimming wouldn’t take over my life. Barry’s attitude was always ‘academics first’. I have always enjoyed it. He made sure we focused on ourselves.

New installation at L’Assomption

In November 2020, when Assumption announced the designation of its multisport stadium as the Brian kelly ’83 Stadium in recognition of one of its most famous graduates, Kelly, who recently became LSU’s football coach, pledged a matching grant of $ 1 million in hopes of encouraging donations alumni to support the athleticism of the Greyhounds.

Earlier this week, Assumption inaugurated a new $ 2.6 million sports facility with funds raised by Kelly and his wife Paqui’s challenge grant.

The facility will include a grass softball field with a new scoreboard, sound system, safety net, reliever box, batting cage and cameras, lights and a new soccer field.

Kelly, who was a middle linebacker for four years at the Assumption and then was an assistant for four years under Bernie gaughan, also coached the Greyhounds softball team for four years. After leading the Notre Dame football team for 12 seasons, Kelly became LSU’s coach in November.

“Assumption University is grateful to Brian and Paqui Kelly for the generous challenge grant they grant to alumni and friends of Assumption to support our student-athletes”, President of Assumption Dr Francesco Cesareo noted. “Thanks to the selfless support of Brian, Paqui and many benefactors, the university has assembled considerable resources to embark on this ambitious project. As formidable competitors to the Northeast-10 conference, this new facility for softball and soccer student-athletes will serve as a fitting showcase for the depth of talent who choose Assumption for their academic and athletic pursuits.

The project is expected to be completed this summer.

“We are delighted to build this new, first-class facility that will support our student-athletes in their pursuit of excellence in the classroom and in athletic competition,” said Assumption Sports Director. Christine lowthert noted. “This project highlights the powerful support of our engaged alumni. I would like to thank the administration of Assumption University and our wonderful alumni, especially Brian and Paqui Kelly, for helping us make this exciting project a reality.

Class leader

Franklin Pierce junior Connor everidge de Baldwinville set program records in the shot put and shot put at the Art Farnham Invitational, hosted by MIT.

Nichols graduate Matt Morrow Leicester became the second player in Bison history to score 1,000 points and take 1,000 rebounds. He averaged 18.7 points and 15.3 rebounds and scored a career-high 31 points in a win over Curry.

Superior Guard of Holy Cross Avery La Barbera tied a career-high 30 points and clocked a career-high 17 rebounds for his fourth consecutive double-double in the Crusaders’ win over Lehigh.

Sainte-Croix senior winger Gerrale Doors averaged 20.5 points on 53 percent of shots and 9.5 rebounds. He tied a career-high with 27 points in a victory over Lafayette.

junior forward WPI John lowther and second ahead John adams de Douglas led the engineers to a pair of NEWMAC wins. Lowther averaged 18.5 points while Adams averaged 14.5 points and 13.5 rebounds. WPI (10-1, 2-0) went from one spot to 23rd in this week’s D3hoops.com Top 25 poll.

WPI Senior Guard Melanie Presseau scored a career-high 23 points to lead the Engineers to their third straight victory.

Assumption before senior Dante Maribito and graduated caretaker David Altman helped lead the Greyhounds to two Northeastern Conference victories-10. Maribito scored the game-winning goal with three minutes remaining to bring Assumption to St. Michael’s, 3-2, while Altman averaged 2.00 and made 72 saves in the two wins.

Contact Jennifer Toland at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @JenTolandTG