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.


“Mr. Cleary was my advisor, history teacher, college advisor, and baseball coach. He was a huge influence during my 3 years at Suffield. Constantly positive, he encouraged me to work harder and always held a high standard. In baseball, two games come to mind: I remember how pleased he was for us when we beat Avon Old Farms for one of the first times in program history, as well as how disappointed he was during a home loss to Canterbury on a bad call at 2nd base. He lived the games with us and always put us in the best spot to be successful as a team and as individuals.
I also had the chance to babysit their son, Tim. I always appreciated that he and Mrs. Cleary trusted me with Tim’s care. After one night of babysitting, with a test in his class the next morning in which I did well, his comments on my test came back asking me if Tim had given me the answers.  As my son begins looking at colleges this year, one that is at the top of his list is Notre Dame. I am enthusiastically supporting him knowing that it was Mr. Cleary’s school and he turned out pretty damn well. Congrats to Mr. & Mrs. Cleary on a tremendous run at Suffield!”  -Penry Price ’87

“I want to make it clear that Coach Cleary, my teammates, and I enjoyed a lot of success during my 4 years at Suffield. We won the first league title in the history of the school my senior year, something that provides me and my teammates with a great deal of pride to this day. However, when I think about Coach I think about the life lessons he taught me that I’ve now passed along to my sons and the players I’ve coached for the last 20 years. It’s amazing how much of an influence a coach can have in your life. I still use expressions and phrases that Coach used almost 30 years ago. It was an honor to play for him.”  -Jay Gately ’90

“The competition for Connatonic League titles between Suffield Academy and Avon Old Farms in the 80’s and 90’s was as fierce as it gets. Suffield teams were consistently great, reflecting the outstanding coaching and overall leadership of Barry Cleary. As the Avon coach for 30 years during that time, I remember vividly those games, so many of which were very tightly contested until the last out. I am thrilled to hear that Suffield is dedicating the baseball field in Barry’s honor. Wonderfully appropriate!”   -Peter Evans, Avon Old Farms School Former Varsity Baseball Coach
Suffield Academy   185 North Main Street   Suffield, Connecticut 06078   Phone 860.386.4400  |  Fax 860.386.4411