28 thoughts on “In Memory Of Coach Barry O'Rourke”

  1. I was one of Barry O’Rourke’s freshman players on the 1983 basketball Varsity team. Mr. O’Rourke was not only a coach, he was a father and role model to many of Pueblo High Basketball players. I considered it a privilege and honor to have been coached by him. Our school mascot describes him best, “Warrior”. His desire to win made him a “Warrior” in every sense of the word. I never met a person that wanted to win like he did. He reminded me of some of the great coaches of current and past times. If there was any way to win, he would figure out a way. Failure was not an option for him.

    During the preparation for the 1983 state playoffs, he said one day to a reporter in Phoenix, “I am not in the business of making basketball players, I am in business of making men. I want to prepare them for life’s challenges on and off the court. Success in life start here; on this court.” He felt that basketball in many ways imitated life. He was a History Teacher but his true class room was on the court. Everything he did had purpose. Each task, drill, and practice had a lesson attached to it.

    I want Mr. O’Rourke’s family, and especially his daughters to know just what special man their father was to all his basketball players. He made all, everyone around him better. He made us think that everything was possible. No matter what the odds were, we had Coach O’Rourke on our side. How could we lose.

    To all the players that played for this GREAT MAN, COACH, and TEACHER let’s come together (like we did before a game), put our hands together and say “We Are Family”. May God bless your soul and family. All your Pueblo High Basketball Players look forward to the day that we see you again in Heaven.

    Coach O’Rourke, we will all miss you.

  2. Once a warrior ALLWAYS a warrior. Heaven now has two warriors holding tryouts for their basketball teams. Coach Jim Garretson for the girls team, and now coach O’rouke for the boys team. I can see it happening coach O’rouke kicking garretson’s girls off the court so his boys can start practice. I remember like it was yesturday. Proud of being a graduate of pueblo high school class of “95” and proud to have been coached by two of the most dedicated, competitive, and fun guys in the sport of basketball. Thank you for the memories that will last a lifetime. They coached for the LOVE OF BASKETBALL. They will forever be in our hearts.

  3. I was one of Barry O’Rourke’s students and he was the reason that made me want to go and be at school. I remember we could get him off any subject of work and start talking about sports and he would completely forget what the assignment was and say we will finish it tomorrow because the bell would ring,it was a way for people to get the homework done that was on the board while we have a sports conversation,well at least for me. I am a proud graduate of 2003 and proud to be a Pueblo Warrior. Even when I left school I would go visit O’Rourke to see how he was doing,he was my inspiration to do things positive, he was my advise. He was a great boys basketball coach and a great friend to me,like everyone says he can be a father figure.

    To his family he will be greatly missed and in our hearts forever.
    We Miss You Barry O’Rourke Rest In Peace.

  4. Coach O’Rourke u will be missed. I remember how we’d get out of class work by getting u to start talking about sports or politics. how much we took that for granted. It did make for some interesting conversations and debates. U will be missed sir. God bless you Mr. O’Rourke.

  5. I never had coach O’rourke as a teacher or as a coach..but as to many people his death impacted my life in a very devestating way…i always used to see coach O’rourke…i could tell he was a nice teacher… alot of my friends which had him told me he was a good teacher!! As many people will miss him so will I..God Bless Coach and may God have you in his glory…To coach’s daughters God Bless you and your dad was a great man he will continue leading you in the right path…my condolences go out to you..God Bless
    We miss you COach!

  6. I personally was never his student but everyday as i walked myself to mr.Santa Cruz’s class we could see his class. And all the cute basketball players would be in there so of course all of us girls would look to see who was in there. He was a teacher not only motivated by his career in teaching but also for his love for basketball. I know that he was great friends with not only Mr. Santa Cruz but also With Mr. Comrie they are the three best history teachers anyone could ever take… You will be in our thoughts Coach remember : “once a warrior always a warrior”

  7. I was in barry o’rourke american history class it been many years since i was in his class but i do remember he was a great teacher if u every needed help he helped u we will miss him

  8. I had O’Rourke as a teacher last year for American Government. He was awesome…I always loved his class. Even though we would make him go off topic it was fun and learned a lot from him. He always motivated the class to get our work done because graduation would be near and in a sense wanted us to graduate. As graduation got closer he would keep telling us “graduation is around the corner folks.” I will always remember you sir and will miss you. My condolences go out to the family.

  9. 1984 What a great loss for all of us Warriors. Mr. O’Rourke was my favorite teacher at Pueblo. He was always the highlight of our day. He was very inspiring and motivational. He truly loved teaching and it showed. Some of the best laughs I have ever had were in his classroom. He once was trying to explain the diference between an introvert personality and an extrovert. He pointed at a shy student and said ” see him, he is quite and shy , he is an introvert, over there is Raul, he is an extrovert.” Raul wasn’t paying attention and only caught the last part of what Mr. O’Rourke said. Raul then asked quite defensivly. ” What, What, Mr. O’Rourke, I am not a pervert!” I still laugh when I remember that. Mr. O’Rourke THANK YOU

  10. I think he was a great teacher, and a great coach too. I like the jokes he used to make and i like his way of teaching us. Sometimes i remember him and get a little sad but i think about the good and funny things he did. Mr. O’Rourke will always be in our hearts. He should be in a better place right now and he should be watching all of us. I didn’t get to know him very well but i was one of his student and that was enough to know that he was a good person.

  11. Mr. O’Rourke was a great teacher, and a great coach too. I like the jokes he used to make and i like his way of teaching us. Sometimes i remember him and get a little sad but i think about the good and funny things he did. Mr. O’Rourke will always be in our hearts. He should be in a better place right now and he should be watching all of us. I didn’t get to know him very well but i was one of his student and that was enough to know that he was a good person.

  12. Mr. O’rourk was a great teacher, he always made learning fun and easy to understand. He was a wonderful person when his storys came around, and he always kept his students up dated with all the latest new in the Daily Star….we are all going to miss our teacher, friend, and coach…but he is somewhere happy’er now!

  13. I never really had the honor to be coached by Coach O’Rourke but i did get the chance to meet the man. He was always in a good mood and i could tell that many people liked him. All i can say is REST IN PEACE COACH WE MISS U

  14. I had the honor of being in Barry O’Rourke’s Ame. Gov class…he was a wonderful teacher, friend, coach and father…he would put a smile on everyone’s face…trying to make our day the best day…he took full advantage of life. I can honestly say he was one of the most wonderful persons I ever met. To his family, he always talked about how proud he was of his daughters, and how much he loved his daughters. You should be proud of him. A unique person who brought a room to life with his personallity…It was an honor to be taught by him…My heart and thought are with you…RIP coach O’Rourke.

  15. I had never watched basketball until I went to high school. The 1983 class was on there way to the state championship with an extraordinary coach. That was my freshman year. For the next three years I did not miss a game. I was not a cheerleader or a player. I was a fan of not only the team but of that coach. Who was he? He was so intense but had a kind soul quality to him. My junior year he was my social studies teacher and what a great class that was. He made you feel important and he made you feel like you wanted to learn. He was always positive and a truely great role model. It was a sad day when I learned that he had passed. Thank you for the great lessons you thaught us and thank you for the great memories. You were not only a great teacher, coach, father but a great man.

  16. I had Mr.O’Rourke for C.P. American Government and History in 85-86. What a unique character he was. He was the only teacher that was cool enough and hysterical enough to be taken seriously( Does that make sense?) He respected all of his students for the individuals that we were and the adults we were about to become… He understood us… In essence a piece of him is US.
    I will never forget one day after class Mr. O’Rourke noticed my frustration with an assignment I told him “I will never get it! I can’t do it” He said “Lori, there are those of us that wait for things to happen and those of us that make it happen”. “I believe you’re going to make things happen in your life don’t give up on yourself so easily”. “Always remember that when you say you can’t do it, it really means you can!” Talk about words that have stayed with me a lifetime! The irony is that I manage the sales teams in my region like O’Rourke managed all of us. He kept things FUN he kept it LIGHT and most importantly he kept it REAL. He gave us alot of support, positive energy, encouragement and kindness. Barry O’Rourke made me want to be a better student. Anyone that could teach me how to understand NYSE without choking me deserves much praise. Thank you for those much needed words and your patience. You inspired me to inspire others. You will be missed but never FORGOTTEN

    P.S. Whatever you do sir don’t eat the Warrior burgers it’s soy not beef.( I’m glad you laughed )


  18. I was one of his students in his 7th period class this year and he was the best teacher and coach i have ever known. My older sister and brother had him when they went to Pueblo. So it was a grate lose to our family. You will be missed so much but also love so very much.

  19. I had the pleasure of knowing Barry for 10 years as an employee at Pueblo. I’ll never forget our basketball conversations.

    He would give me his prediction for the upcoming basketball season and he was always right! He would say, “this year we are small, but the kids are tough, we are going to surprise some people.” Sure enough that’s what would happen. He was always proud of his ‘knuckleheads’. He not only saw their abilities as basketball players, but their potential as men. I would attend some of the team practices just to see him in action. Some of his methods were a little off the wall, but they worked! Ask any former basketball player…

    We would always discuss the U of A basketball season. He would tell me how the incoming freshmen looked, since he would attend some pre-season practices. His scouting reports were on the money. He knew his basketball.

    This man was a walking history book. He knew something about everyone and everything, past and present. I enjoyed every single conversation we had, short and long. I consider it a privilege that he extended me the title of ‘coach’. He would say, ‘you are an important part to the success of the program.’ The little I did was huge to him because that’s what drove him. To make anyone associated with Pueblo proud of their school.

    When he retired from announcing the football games, he gave me his blessing as his successor for one year. Not easy shoes to fill. He handed me the microphone, which I still have, and told me that I would do a better job than him. Yeah right! There is NO equal to his intelligence, charm and wit. I have to admit, as an M.C., I have copied some of his catch phrases and speaking methods. They’re just so good! “The shores of the mighty Santa Cruz River” will miss your voice and we will watch out for the “speed bumps” as we exit the school parking lot.

    I can go on and on, but I won’t. I’m going to miss this man for many reasons. Barry embodied what Pueblo is all about! We might not be perfect, but we do value the importance of FAMILY!

  20. I played for O’Rourke in 80-81. Funny how you can’t really remember all the classes or teacher, but I talk about O’Rourke to this day. I am not only proud to be a Warrior, but proud to have had the honor to play in the “fat Lever” gym and for a great man.

  21. WOW, what do you say about a man who transcended the role of coach, mentor, and friend.

    I was lucky enough to make the transition from the JV to Varsity level with Coach O’Rourke. It was during my junior year that Coach taught me one of the hardest lessons of my life. At the time I could not understand it, but as I look back on it some 25 years later, I know what honor, honesty, and integrity mean. During that year, my family moved from the Pueblo area to the Tucson High area. My mother gave me permission to reside with my Aunt in the Pueblo area and we thought everything was good. One night after a standard late night practice, I was heading to the bus stop when Coach saw me and told me that he would give me a ride home. It was my dumb luck that I was staying with my mother that night because my aunt was out of town. The next morning Coach pulled me to the side and told me that we had to report this to the proper authorities. He explained that this was for the best and that we could go through it together. We made the report and long story short; I was forced to transfer to Tucson High. At the time, I was hurt and did not understand why. However; today, I fully understand that doing the right thing is the most important thing! That single event taught me that nothing was more important that my personal honor and integrity! It was a tough lesson, but one that has served me well.

    Thank you Coach!

    To those you leave behind, know that Coach was a winner; not just on the court, but a winner in life!

  22. It is the anniversay of our father’s death and we want you all to know how much your support and kind words mean to us. My father loved Pueblo and all the students he had the pleasure of working with. He’d always share stories about his students and basketball players. It was so interesting becuase I admired how he NEVER had anything bad to say about anyone. Even those basketball players who thought they deserved more playing time or students who wouldn’t put in the effort- the worst thing he would say is that they are “Knuckle Heads” or he would empathize with their situation. Pueblo is such an important part of my history and who I am. While I know the school will never be the same without Dad- we hope to carry on his legacy by supporting Pueblo however we can. One way is through the scholarship we’ve established in my dad’s name. Every day I try to live my life in honor of my dad – by giving to others, making good decisions and understanding what is important in life. Namely family and friends. We all miss him and it’s the most difficult when all you want to do is say hi, give him a hug or when you need to hear that he’s proud of you. We can all laugh, cry and miss him together. As long as we continue to think of him and share his story he will live on forever!

  23. I was a student of coach O’Rourke he was a fun man to be around he joke when need and was serious when if need he was their for me when my granma died and i will never forget the great man that told me “people come and go but heart never forgets” god bless his family i’m still sorry 4 ur lose

  24. I had coach as a teacher and help once and a long while wit the basketball team he was fun but serious he was my teacher the yr my granma died he talk me through it he was a special man and he will always be missed by family since he tought three generations in my family

  25. I played for Mr. O’Rouke back in 1981 that was the year that change life for the better. I realized that anyone can become alcoholic and it was sad to see him go down that path. He was a great man!


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