Editor’s note: Barry Goldberg was a great guy and we, and the volleyball world, will miss him. This is the Sunday news release from American University and also the accompanying AU graphic.
WASHINGTON – American University Cassell Hall of Famer and legendary volleyball coach Barry Goldberg, an Eagle since 1989 and beloved by many, has passed away at the age of 61. Goldberg was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer in February 2022.
“It is with great sadness that we share the news of Barry’s passing,” said Director of Athletics and Recreation, Dr. Billy Walker. “Barry’s commitment to AU, our volleyball program and extended university community was unmatched. Anyone who interacted with Barry came away a better person. Our thoughts and prayers are with Bonnie, his children and grandchildren.”
Goldberg spent 34 years building the volleyball program and setting records every step of the way. He earned 10 Coach of the Year honors and guided the Eagles to 16 Patriot League Championships. His teams made 18 NCAA Tournament appearances, and his 812 wins ranked fourth among active Division I coaches at the conclusion of the 2022 season.
While Goldberg’s career successes could fill pages, his proudest achievements came off the volleyball court. He is survived by his wife, Bonnie, three children, Arielle Houlihan (Matthew), Jared Goldberg (Aryn) and Mitchell Goldberg, along with grandchildren Rylie and Hallie Houlihan and Silas, Simeon and Samson Goldberg.
The Goldbergs’ children were all collegiate athletes. Arielle played volleyball at the University of the Pacific, Jared played volleyball at Grand Canyon University, and Mitchell played lacrosse at Richmond where he graduated as the program’s all-time leading goal-scorer.
Goldberg, a 2019 inductee into the Eagles’ Stafford H. “Pop” Cassell Hall of Fame, was in attendance for the 2023 ceremony on February 18, where Cassell’s son, Jack, dedicated a $3 million gift from him and his wife Denise toward naming the “Barry Goldberg Court” in the future Alan and Amy Meltzer Center for Athletic Performance.
During their run of 18 appearances in the NCAA Tournament, Goldberg’s teams twice had extended, NCAA tournament success. The Eagles advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in 2013 with straight-set wins over Georgia and Duke, and then made a second-round appearance in 2015 after sweeping Kentucky. American is the only Patriot League team to ever win a match in the NCAA Tournament.
Goldberg graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communication and rhetoric from the University of Pittsburgh in 1984, and while pursuing his master’s in counseling education, he was an assistant coach for the Pitt women’s varsity team.
Within the national volleyball community, Goldberg was a fixture and worked with several prestigious camps and committees. His impact on volleyball in the DC area is legendary, including 15 years as Director of the Metro American Volleyball Club, and with his wife Bonnie, founded the hugely successful, annual Capitol Hill Volleyball Classic which began in 2007.
The family will hold a funeral open to all who wish to attend on Tuesday, March 28 at the Garden of Remembrance in Clarksburg, Md. at 3:30 p.m. The family will be sitting shiva at their home at 26801 Dix Street, Damascus, MD. They will accept visitors from 4 pm -7 pm through Sunday, April 1.
There will be a memorial service held by family to celebrate Barry’s incredible life and career, inviting friends, family, colleagues, and former players to come together and share their memories of him. The details of the memorial will be announced at a later date.