Barry Pyear chose helping others over personal glory. Hundreds of his former Bay of Quinte high school football players are glad he did. In 1971, after four superb seasons as standout defensive back and kick returner at the University of Guelph, Pyear was offered a professional tryout by the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League. Instead of turning pro, Pyear opted instead to begin his teaching and coaching career in the Bay of Quinte region.
Thirty years later, after stints at Centre Hastings, Centennial, Moira and Bayside, Pyear had guided his football teams to more than 200 victories, six COSSA championships and the first-ever appearance by a Bay of Quinte team at the National Capital Bowl in the Sky Dome in Toronto. Several of Pyear’s players have gone on to attend university in Ontario. At the time of his induction into the Belleville Sports Hall of Fame, at least 10 of his former players were starting for Ontario university football teams and two were playing professionally.
While building championship teams became Pyear’s forte, he was also instrumental in reviving the dormant football program at Bayside after an 18-year hiatus. H was also among the founders of the wildly successful Belleville Minor Football League, providing local children with the opportunity to learn and play football before high school.
Born in Stirling on June 29, 1949, Pyear excelled on the football field and on the ice. He was a starter on both offence and defence for the Stirling Rawdon District High School team that won a COSSA football title in 1966. The next year he was a key member of the Tweed Jr. C hockey team that captured an all-Ontario championship. Pyear chose football over hockey after being offered a full hockey scholarship to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. He elected to go to Guelph where he studied physical and health education while playing football for the Gryphons. The Gryphons coaching staff, in fact, was so intent on getting Pyear to Guelph that they assigned former CFL great Garney Henley to personally recruit him. Not surprisingly, Pyear’s three sons – Kyle, Ryan and Tobin – followed his footsteps into football, carving successful university careers of their own.