After 40 years Barry Cleary will retire at the end of this school year. He has served as a teacher, coach, admissions officer, dorm head, the director of college counseling, assistant headmaster, and most recently as the dean of faculty. More importantly he has guided and mentored thousands of Suffield graduates through their high school years and made a positive impact on the lives.
Barry came to the Academy in 1977 as an admissions officer. Settling down with his wife Laurie and devoting themselves to the Suffield community, their two sons Tim ’02 and Ryan ’05 grew up on this beautiful campus and proudly played baseball with their father as coach. It is in fact impossible to think of Barry’s legacy without thinking about baseball. With Barry as skipper the Tigers went 364-109 and posted a 76 percent winning record. He won his 300th game before losing his 100th and had multiple undefeated seasons: 1992, 2000, and 2005. After the formation of the Cannatonic League in 1990, Suffield won 8 titles in 16 years, winning one title nearly every other season.
In 2006, Barry’s last year as manager, the Cannatonic League recognized his contributions by naming a division of the newly formed New England Prep Baseball League after Coach Cleary. The Cleary Division includes Suffield Academy, Cheshire Academy, Pomfret School, Wilbraham & Monson Academy, and Williston Northampton School. Matthew Sawyer, then league president, commented, “Every coach in the league felt strongly that we should honor Barry in some way, and we agreed that designating a division to his name was the perfect gesture.”
Suffield Academy plans to build dugouts and dedicate the varsity baseball field in name of Barry this spring. We invite alumni, faculty, and friends to help us reach our goal of $50,000 for this commemorative project. Please join us in celebrating the illustrious career of Barry Cleary, a teacher, coach, and loyal member of our family for the last four decades.