Written by Bryan Messerly
A native of Fairmont, W.Va., Eddie Barrett was WVU’s athletics publicity director from 1951-67, except for a two-year period when he served in the United States Air Force.
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He was hired at age 20 by then-athletic director Roy “Legs” Hawley. Barrett helped publicize some of the greatest basketball players in WVU history – Hot Rod Hundley, Rod Thorn, Jerry West, Ron “Fritz” Williams, Mark Workman and Lloyd Sharrar. He also publicized football first team All-Americans Sam Huff and Bruce Bosley. He served on the NCAA Public Relations Committee from 1963-67.
Barrett helped bring WVU into the modern age of sports information by laying the foundation for statistics, records and brochures. A $160,000 three-level press box was built during his tenure in 1963 that featured removable windows atop of Old Mountaineer Field. His 1961 WVU basketball brochure was recognized nationally by the United States Basketball Writers Association.
Following his stint at WVU, Barrett became the youngest major college athletic director at Marshall at age 36 in 1967. He then worked with Pepsi-Cola before getting into the insurance business with Connecticut Mutual, Washington National, Northwestern National, Northern Life and ING ReliaStar. He received first-place awards nationally for insurance sales and tax shelter annuity plans (403b plans). Barrett currently serves as president of Tax Sheltered Benefits, Inc.
Barrett, born March 16, 1931, resides in Huntington with his wife, Betty. They have five children – Kevin, Richard, Ed, John and Ann – and 11 grandchildren.
Barrett and his wife were honored in 2009 as the Most Loyal West Virginians from WVU, and the WVU Foundation honored the Barretts with the 2007 Outstanding Philanthropy award. He received the WVU Alumni Association’s award for promoting the spirit and tradition of West Virginia.
Barrett is a member of Mountain Honorary, Beta Theta Pi fraternity and Jerry West Society, and he served as president of the 2005 WVU Alumni Association Emeritus Club.