Wednesday, August 28, 2013

VASJ graduate Ryan Barry enjoys giving back

If you attend Villa Angela-St. Joseph's opening football game against visiting Our Lady of the Lakes on Saturday, there's no doubt you'll see Ryan Barry standing on the sidelines.
The 2004 VASJ graduate is in his fifth year as the Vikings' equipment manager.
He starts attending camps and two-a-day practices in July and fulfills his responsibility through the final game of the season which is Nov. 2 this year at Holy Name.
His duties include making sure athletes have proper uniforms. He's also ready to do anything that is asked of him which includes inflating footballs and filling water bottles.
Barry continues to come back season after season because he loves the school.
When football season ends, he goes right into basketball.
This winter will be his 15th with the Viking basketball program.
A year ago, he was the video and equipment coordinator for the Vikings who brought home the Division IV state championship. He plans to return this year.
"That championship meant the world to me," he said. "I saw my first St. Joe's game in seventh grade. I remember seeing all the banners. Coming here as a student, winning a state championship was my ultimate dream. I wanted the championship for the school."
Barry did not play sports at VASJ, but he was involved in the football and basketball programs. He was a student-manager for the boys basketball team from freshman to senior year. He was also a football manager as a freshman and sophomore.
"It means something to wear the Viking uniform," Barry said. "When you wear the uniform, you are representing all of the players from the past including Clark Kellogg, Desmond Howard, Elvis Grbac and the Golics.
"There is a lot of history here."
VASJ boys basketball coach Babe Kwasniak, a  1994 Viking graduate, knows the history well.
The former All-Ohio point guard helped lead the Vikings to state basketball championships in 1992 and 1994 when his dad, Ted Kwasniak, was the head coach.
Kwasniak said he is grateful to have someone as dedicated as Barry involved with the program.
"Ryan's devotion to VASJ has been unwavering," Kwasniak said. "It's not just him; his entire family has been that way.
"Ryan does whatever we ask of him, and many times those jobs are not very attractive. I don't think he has taken off his championship ring since we received them in May. I was very happy to see him get that, because he waited longer than anyone."
When asked how long he will assist the football and basketball teams, Barry said he plans to help out as long as he can.
It's his way of carrying on the Viking tradition.

-Theresa Neuhoff Audia



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