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Alumni Profiles

Tom ‘T.J.’ Barber’s Impressive Career 50 Years of Boxing at Western 

Members of the Western Colorado University boxing team take a photo with T.J. Barber

“Tom has helped grow the Club by being a part of it for over 50 years. He has so much Boxing knowledge and is a great coach for any level of fighter. His best three characteristics could be his knowledge of boxing, his ability to effectively coach all levels of fighters, and his dedication to developing us as boxers. He is a fantastic coach and has done so much for the Club and the boxers within it.”

-Daniel McCord, USIBA 2022 154-pound Open Class National Champion

In 1972, boxing legend, Tom ‘T.J.’ Barber, brought his expertise, dedication, and community-first mindset to Western. This season is a milestone in Tom’s extensive boxing career, marking 50 years of Club Boxing here at Western. No stranger to winning, the Boxing program has brought home twenty-two Colorado State Golden Gloves Boxing Champions, twenty-one Colorado State Golden Gloves Boxing Runner-Ups, two second-place finishes at the USA Junior Olympics, one first-place medalist at the 1976 Rocky Mountain Olympic Trials, a second-place finish at the 1976 Western United States Olympic Trials, nine National Champions among countless other top-three finishes over the past 50 years under Tom’s leadership and coaching.

Tom’s commitment to the Boxing Club shines in many ways. He volunteers his time to coach both collegiate and community boxing. When Tom started, the Boxing Gym was tucked away in a basement on campus. Today, the Boxing gym is in the southwest corner of the Mountaineer Field House where patrons can watch as future National and State Champions train under the watchful eye of Tom “T.J.” Barber.

T.J. Barber poses with two of Western's boxing champions at a competition.

Boxing has always been one of the most successful student clubs on campus, but the campus stoke some Club Sports thrive for is irrelevant to the Boxing program. Their team mindset has always been directed towards doing whatever it takes to perfect their skills and succeed. Tom’s coaching style helps influence this winning mentality engrained into the Club Boxing Team.

USIBA 2022 201-pound Beginner/Novice Class Champion Garret Lane attributes his success to Coach Tom. In an interview last year, Lane said “I just don’t think I could give enough credit to Coach Tom. There were moments during our training for nationals where we couldn’t practice together because we didn’t have a space. Coach would call me every day to hold me accountable and keep me going.” Another boxer, USIBA 2022 154-pound Open Class National Champion Daniel McCord, said “Tom has helped grow the Club by being a part of it for over 50 years. He has so much Boxing knowledge and is a great coach for any level of fighter. His best three characteristics could be his knowledge of boxing, his ability to effectively coach all levels of fighters, and his dedication to developing us as boxers. He is a fantastic coach and has done so much for the Club and the boxers within it.”

This consistency is why Tom has been such an influential piece in Western Club Boxing’s success. There have been times when the future of Club Boxing was uncertain, but Tom fought to keep the winning tradition alive. Tom’s achievements with Western Club Boxing are no easy feat, and he will truly go down in history as one of the greatest coaches and athletes to grace Western’s campus. Help us congratulate Coach Tom “T.J” Barber on 50 years of service to Western Club Boxing and to many more successful years!

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