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Coach Barr honored by football field naming

By Staff | Sep 6, 2019


WINCHESTER, Va. – At the opening of its 2019 football season, James Wood High School in Winchester honored former coach Walter Barr by naming the field at its stadium after him. In a formal ceremony prior to the Colonels’ Aug. 30 home game against Sherando, the current athletic administration named the school’s football facility “Walter Barr Field at Jerry Kelican Stadium.”

The 83-year-old Barr actually had two different coaching stints at James Wood.

In his first head coaching years with the Colonels, Barr achieved a seldom-seen record of 38-2-1 and won a Group AAA state championship in 1970. Barr had begun his coaching career at James Wood as an assistant under head coach James “Jimmy” Casey.

In 1971, Barr began coaching at then Shepherd College in West Virginia. He was Shepherd’s football leader through the 1985 season and compiled an enviable 107-48-4 record with the Rams.

At Shepherd, the college where he was the starting quarterback as an undergraduate, Barr had three WVIAC championship teams, as well as leading the Rams to the school’s first-ever playoff berth in 1983.


He actually returned to coaching high school football in the Winchester area after leaving Shepherd, and led Sherando High to a Virginia state championship game in two consecutive seasons.

Barr’s second stint at James Wood was from 2005-2007. In his second year back with Colonel football, Barr had a 7-3 record, which was Wood’s first winning record since back in 1981. The next year, his Colonels went 8-3 overall and reached the Virginia playoffs for the first time since back in 1980.

For his winning efforts at Shepherd, Barr was elected to school’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1989 and to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame in 1989.

Shepherd also honored Barr several years ago, by placing a metal plaque on the brick wall near the Ram Stadium press box depicting his coaching career with the Rams.

When Barr moved from James Wood to Shepherd in 1971, he was succeeded as the Colonels football coach by Jerry Kelican, a Charles Town native whose name is also on {span}James Wood Stadium and Athletic Complex{/span} at James Wood High School.

Barr was widely known for his passion for football and the game’s fundamentals. At times, he had Shepherd practice three times a day during early fall workouts, before any games were actually played. His college teams generally won games with basic offenses based on his running game and reliance on blocking. Many fellow coaches saw Barr’s teams as also winning with superior conditioning and strong-willed players.

Barr and family members attended the Aug. 30 ceremony that took place about 20 minutes before the start of the James Wood vs. Sherando game won by Sherando.