Almost a century separates the Georgia Tech athletic accomplishments of David “Red” Barron, a three-sport star who graduated in 1922, and his great-great-nephew Patrick Barron, age 20, a cross-country runner inspired by family history.
By Patrick Barron
For the AJC
I grew up in a military family, and my parents have always encouraged my brothers and me in sports. My dad is retired Navy, who ran at the Naval Academy. My older brother, Jes, ran at West Point and is currently deployed in Iraq. My younger brother, Alex, runs in high school and is interested in attending a military academy.
Every three years we moved, so by the time I left for college I had moved five times. I feel like our family is closer together because we had to go through so much more. For us, it was important to keep our family stories coming down through the generations, to help keep our family together.
During my final year of high school I wasn’t sure where to go to college. Georgia Tech had nuclear engineering and a good running program I could fit into. Given our whole family history in Atlanta, that put Tech over the top.
When my dad and I came down from Virginia to visit the campus, we were looking at the Georgia Tech Hall of Fame board. My coach asked if we saw anyone we knew up there, and I told him I was related to that guy -- Red Barron, my grandfather's uncle.
Red was twice an All-American, three times all-conference and is also in the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. He played baseball with the Boston Braves for a short time.
In the Tech training room there’s a small picture of Red in the corner. It shows him signing autographs for little children.
I think it is awesome that Red was able to compete in four sports at the collegiate level. That takes a lot of talent and determination.
Red’s brothers, Carter and Leroy “Pat” Barron, were also Tech athletes. Pat’s son, David [also Pat] and nephew, Tom Jones, played football for Tech.
My grandfather, Claude Barron, was planning to come here to play football, but lost three fingers in a parachute accident in World War II and couldn’t complete that dream. I have been told he could punt the ball very far. Whenever I was around him, I listened to his stories and played around with his little stubs of fingers.
These stories continued my interest in sports, and having family success in athletics kept driving me after I got started.
I came to Tech and earned a spot on the team. When I won the dual meet against Georgia in September, I was named Georgia Tech student-athlete of the week.
From my family history, I know I have support from others out there. I’m not alone in doing what I am doing.
-- As told to Michelle Hiskey