Each week, the Herald will feature two of the 2022 inductees into the Berlin High School Athletic Hall of Fame. This is the first look at the class of eight individuals and two teams.
Larry Barber only needed to take a few steps from his front yard on Patterson Way to reach the north end zone of the original Berlin High School football field. He has been an athlete for all seasons, playing football, basketball and baseball for all four years. Whether on the pitch, in the field or on the pitch, he was truly at home at the school’s major sports venues.
Barber, a member of the Class of 1963 and recipient of the Richard Patterson Award that year, was the starting quarterback and co-captain of senior football. In basketball, he was the team’s sniper. In baseball, he was the pitching ace and an outfielder when not on the mound. “He had a great arm,” said baseball and football teammate Tom Trevethan. “He was hard to hit because he threw a heavy ball that dived into your hands. It was difficult for the hitters to make solid contact.
After high school, Barber was one of the top slo-pitch Town League softball players for nearly 20 years with the East Berlin Volunteer Fire Department. He quickly removed his spikes. In 1998 he moved with his wife Jackie and son Danny to Jupiter, Florida where golf would be his favorite sport.
Four years ago he suffered a stroke, which affected his speech and the right side of his body. It never broke his spirit, however. He refused that this put an end to his sports participation. “When Larry was in rehab, he was still able to putt,” said Jackie, his wife of 38 years. “It was so important.”
Many hours of physical rehabilitation, backed by determination, helped Barber return to class. He adapted and learned to use his left side more as a power source for his swing.
He usually plays two rounds of 18 holes each week at Jupiter Golf Club, where he has a handicap of 10. Staying active in the sport remains a constant in his life. “When he got the call with his [BHS Athletic Hall of Fame] acceptance, he broke out with a huge smile and feels deeply honored and grateful,” Jackie said. “It was some of the best days of his life and it touches his heart in the most tender way. He is a very humble man, but he is so proud to think that this is happening to him.
Robert Facey, Class of 1979
After Robert Facey Jr. was informed of his Hall of Fame induction in 2022, he said “it’s so humbling if I make a small contribution to Berlin football and an honor to be in such a company prestigious”.
Face, a 1979 graduate, was modest, but deceived. He was an immense contributor to the football history of the Redcoats. He had 3,079 career rushing yards — including 204 against Avon as a sophomore. He had a record 161 with streaks of 75 and 40 called back by penalties in a heartbreaking 20-16 loss to Hand-Madison in the 1977 Class M Championship. He was a two-time Conference running back North West and captain in his senior season.
It was all accomplished in just 24 starts after his family moved from New Britain to Berlin before his second year.
“My first year coaching Berlin was Bob’s first in Berlin,” said Al Pellirinelli, the programme’s most successful coach. “He may not have been the fastest, but he had the skill and the instinct to avoid tackles. It could be a fake, a shift or a boom and a boom for the yards.
Pellirinelli’s Wing-T [offense] was powered by Facey. Although defenses usually knew who was carrying the ball, they could rarely corral it.
Facey’s unique experience probably helped him. As a youth, he often faced older, taller boys on a New Britain sand court at Fairview Cemetery. He said it was “a beautiful grassy pitch, one of the best in town.” Not only did he have to dodge would-be tacklers, but also some granite headstones.
Facey’s love of football continued for many years after high school. He helped launch Berlin’s midget football program as head coach from 1980 to 1982, served as backfield coach for the semi-professional New England Crusaders, head coach for the Berlin Bears and was a then served as a board member of the Bears Youth Football and Cheer.
He was also an official member of the Central Connecticut Association of Football Officials from 1990 to 2016, a member of the Northern Connecticut Chapter of the National Football Foundation and the College Hall of Fame and member of the board of directors from 1992 to 2017, president NFF and CHF. from 1998 to 2000, official in each collegiate division from 1995 to 2002, President of the CCAFO in 2014 and observer of the CCAFO officials. “Officiating and playing, well, I have enjoyed and still enjoy everything about football ever since I first played there,” he said.
The induction ceremony will take place on Sunday, April 24 at 3:30 p.m. at the Aqua Turf Club, 556 Mulberry Street in Plantsville. For ticket information, contact Joy Cooper at (860) 546-8614 or firstname.lastname@example.org.