Webster is in mourning

11 Aug

barnesEarlier this week, Webster suffered a great loss when Chris Barnes, a beloved teacher, coach, father and friend, passed after a hard-fought battle with cancer.

Barnes was long-time coach of the Webster Thomas girls’ lacrosse team, and a teacher at Willink Middle School. He is remembered for both his successes on the playing field and in the classroom, but his main legacy lies in the kind of person he was and how he positively affected the lives of the young women who played for him.

You can read more about all that in a story by Stevie Johnson in the Democrat and Chronicle . I’d like to focus, therefore, on a lacrosse game held last Tuesday in Barnes’ honor.

It was the team’s annual alumna game, which this year was dedicated to Coach Barnes.  All proceeds from t-shirt’s, raffles and food went to the Barnes family.

WROC-TV and WHAM-TV both covered the game. Here’s the transcript from the WHAM story, courtesy Mary Alice and David Moore:

Tuesday night, the Webster Titans showed just how big their collective heart is. They came together to rally around a beloved teacher and coach.

Girls Lacrosse at Webster Thomas is synonymous with Coach Chris Barnes. He started the program in 2003, teaching the young women on the field for Tuesday’s alumni game everything they know about lacrosse.

“He taught me, personally, a lot about passion,” said Webster Thomas graduate Nicole Voci. “Seeing him show up to every practice and every game kind of meant a lot to me, and it made me want to win for him.”

And the players will tell you the lessons from Coach Barnes went beyond lacrosse.

“He’s meant a lot to me,” said graduate Kelsey Quinlan.

Now, the coach’s players are showing him just how much he meant to them, Tuesday’s game was a fundraiser to honor Coach Barnes during what’s become a two-year battle with colon cancer. It never stopped him – he worked right up until his surgery.

“He taught the kids as much about life as he did about lacrosse,” said retired athletic director Scott Morrison.

“His legacy is what he’s passed onto hundreds and hundreds of girls and their families,” said former Barnes assistant and present Webster Schroeder Girls Lacrosse Coach Bryan Hanley, “his spirit and how he handled himself.”

Ever the coach, even when he isn’t on the sidelines, Chris Barnes is still there – in the hearts and minds of his team.

All proceeds from Tuesday’s event will be donated to a charity of Coach Barnes’ choice.

Calling hours for Chris Barnes will be held Wednesday August 15 from 1 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at Willard Scott Funeral Home, 12 South Avenue, and the funeral held the following morning at Immanuel Lutheran Church. For details, click here to read the obituary.

lacrosse alumna

Webster Thomas girls’ lacrosse alumna

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