Coach Richard Barden has been at BT for the past 13 years when he was hired as the economics and government teacher, head wrestling coach and defensive coordinator in football. Today, he has added the job of assistant AD to his repertoire. H is a rare native Atlantan, having been born at Crawford Long Memorial Hospital at 4:08 AM. He started out playing college football in Minnesota and went on to completed his degree from Kennesaw State University. During his time off in the summer, he works for a swimming pool store where he has been for the past 32 years. His wife Jeannie Barden is the media specialist at Holy Redeemer, and his daughter, Jana, is a freshman at BT. (Read the latest on the BT wrestling team)
Did you wrestle in high school? Play football? Yes, I wrestled and played football in high school. In addition, I also threw the shotput and discus in track.
Why become a coach? I was fortunate to have a teacher in the eighth grade that taught with great passion for his subject that he made learning enjoyable for me for the first time in my life. I knew from that point forward that I would become a teacher. I was also fortunate to be blessed with God-given athletic ability, and it only made sense for me to share my love and knowledge of athletes to those that I teach.
What has been one of your favorite classes to teach at BT and why? Economics is my favorite class. Some of my best moments come when my former students gain the same love of economics and decide to make that their major in college.
What is one of your biggest challenges coaching wrestling? Convincing young men to come out and participate in the oldest sport in the world. There is no doubt that wrestling is a tough sport, but some of the most successful men in the world wrestled at one time in their lives, and that includes former Presidents. I am always surprised that more young people do not try wrestling, especially considering that the participants are divided by size and weight. There are 14 different weight classes where these young men compete against opponents who are about the same size. The weight classes for wrestling are 106, 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 145, 152, 160, 170, 182, 195, 220 and 285. There is a weight class for all sizes.
What is your biggest accomplishment to date in wrestling? Having one or more wrestlers place at the State tournament every year. Of course winning my 400th dual victory as a head coach this year was really exciting as well.
Any really funny stories to share about your wrestlers??? Wrestling is such a close knit family that there is a funny story every week. However the nicknames that wrestlers earn during the course of a season or even a career are what I find to be the humorous.
What are some of your favorite times of the year, hobbies, authors, movies, reading materials, TV programs, restaurants, junk food?
- July 4th is my favorite time of the year. I believe America is the greatest country on earth, and I love the fact that we celebrate it every year.
- I really do not have a hobby, per se, since I teach and coach.
- My favorite author is Arthur Conan Doyle.
- I really do not have one particular movie, but I love to use famous lines from many of the movies that I liked during my teaching and coaching.
- My favorite TV shows were House and West Wing.
- My favorite restaurant is any good steakhouse or hot wing place.
- Reese’s Peanut Butter cups are my absolute favorite junk food, but they must be frozen.
If you hadn’t become a social studies teacher, what would be doing? My Plan B if teaching did not work out was to become a federal agent at one of the following: FBI, Secret Service, ATF or the DEA.
If you could choose, what would you be doing —– years from now? I plan on teaching and coaching until I die, but I hope to travel more.
Being a teacher and a dad at BT must present different challenges, any funny stories you can share? As a dad of a high school girl I try to give her space and be inconspicuous, which for a fellow of my size is next to impossible.
What would you like to hear God say to you when you meet Him in heaven? “So I guess I proved that I do have a sense of humor by requiring you to work with Ricky Turner.” However, on a serious note I would love to hear “job well done my good and faithful servant.”
If you were writing your epitaph, what would you say? All anyone can ever ask of you is to do your best – if you do that then you are successful.
If you could see any performer/band in concert who would it be? Paul McCartney
If you could have dinner with one person who has died, who would it be? Many people would choose Jesus but I plan on living with him for all of eternity. Therefore, I would like to have dinner with Theodore Roosevelt.
List any idiosyncrasies only your spouse/kids would know about you. I do the laundry in my house and I only allow the towels to be folded a certain way.
What’s your favorite high school memory? Having my grandfather come and watch me compete because he never had that chance. He came from a very poor family and had to start working after his eighth grade year.
Besides teaching and coaching, what do you like most about working at BT? I am fortunate to work with colleagues who genuinely care about others. I look forward to coming to work (BT) everyday!