Hammond coach Dick Barr

Former Indiana All-Star Larry Moore and Hammond coach Dick Barr discuss strategy during a timeout in their 1974-75 season.


The funeral service in Shreveport, Louisiana, was short and simple with daughter Janis Barr delivering the eulogy.

She then downloaded a song on her iPad.

"It was 'My Way' by Frank Sinatra," Janis said. "That best summed up my father. He did it his way regardless of what it cost him."

Dick Barr, who coached boys basketball for more than 30 years, including at Hammond High from 1970 to 1975, died Sunday at the age of 92.

"(He was) a force of nature who helped hundreds of kids get scholarships and a better life," Janis said. "He always wanted a son but got two girls. What he didn't realize was he had hundreds of sons."

A great storyteller with a southern drawl and animated sideline demeanor, Barr won consecutive sectional titles at Hammond in '73, '74 and '75 — his final two teams each finishing 23-2.

Those promising seasons ended at the always-tough Gary Regional with heartbreaking losses to Bishop Noll, West Side and Emerson — the final two coming at the buzzer.

Barr's career record was 485-318, with much of his success coming at Jeffersonville, Hammond and Tipton. He produced three Indiana All-Stars in the Wildcats' Rich Valavicius, Larry Moore and Jeffersonville's Mike Flynn.

Valavicius went on to play for Bob Knight and Indiana's '75-76 unbeaten national champs before transferring to Auburn. Moore played at North Dakota State, while Flynn played at Kentucky.

"Coach Barr had a big influence on my life," Valavicius said. "I really liked playing for him. He would get me so fired up for games with his speeches, I wanted to jump out of the gym.

"A great motivator. It was an honor playing for him."

Among his teammates during that wonderful three-year run was Larry Moore, John Randall, Ron Mercer, Brian Banks, Randy Harrison and Duane McClendon.

"(Barr) always told us to play hard, do your best, and never give up," Valavicius said. "It's just sad he never got his due."

Having repeatedly come so close without advancing further in postseason play earned Barr his share of criticism from fans. His players remained loyal.

"He was like a father figure to all of us," said Moore, who is now Hammond's athletic director. "A fiery coach, he instilled a lot of toughness in us. He didn't mind playing younger players. That's how he built programs.

"That's why I'm where I'm at today. I love him. I'm going to miss him."

Moore said Barr, who served as the school's dean of students, was a master at instilling confidence in his Hammond teams.

"His favorite line was 'If we don't win tonight, ain't no hound dogs in Georgia,'" Moore chuckled. "He made you believe you can win.

"He certainly got us ready."

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