Legendary wrestling coach Ray Barron passes away

(Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

Ray Barron, the legendary wrestling coach, passed away early Monday morning. He was 70.

Barron was a wrestling coach for 50 years, the majority of which was spent at Heritage for 34 years. He spent the past five seasons at Columbine, and also coached at Fort Lupton.

His historic career saw his teams post a record of 495-181-6 in dual meets. Barron guided more than 50 wrestlers to place at the state tournament.

He is a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, the National High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame, and the Colorado High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Barron didn't limit himself to wrestling. He was an assistant football and track coach at Heritage during his time there, and in recent seasons, he did the same at Columbine.

(Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

Barron grew up in Colorado, and was a former three-sport athlete at Hinkley. Professionally, he was a history teacher at Fort Lupton, in Worland (Wyo.) — where he also coached — and Heritage.

Barron was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer earlier this year, and the 2020 state wrestling tournament saw wrestlers, coaches, referees and officials greet the coach with plenty of handshakes, hugs and well-wishes.

"It's nice. It's real nice," he said of the support in February.

After the 2020 tournament, Barron was named the 5A wrestling coach of the year.

But Barron's impact extended beyond awards, wins and state championships. His legacy lies in the lessons he taught as a coach, and the empathy, compassion and respect he showed others.

"My heart was sad when I heard the news, but also inspired by the grit and determination coach modeled in fighting until the end," said CHSAA commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green. "He motivated 'old school' and impacted so many by just being him."