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Barry Wood '31 Was Star For Three Harvard Teams


Did you ever wonder what it was like to go to Soldiers Field and watch the Crimson football team do battle with such squads as Texas and Michigan and win?

Dr. William Barry Wood Jr. '32, who died in Cambridge Tuesday, was a gridiron hero of that heyday of Harvard football. Old football heroes are a dime a dozen, but the accomplishments of Dr. Wood deserve special notice.

The last Crimson back to be named All-American in football. Wood graduated summa cum laude and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and went on to become a bacteriologist who wrote one of the first papers on penicillin. Wood spent his life as a teacher, physician, and researcher and served 11 years as head of the department of microbiology at Johns Hopkins University.

While at Harvard, Wood was elected to numerous positions, including First Marshal of his class, president of the Student Council and captain of both the football and hockey teams.

A do-it-all at quarterback from 192931. Wood was described by the October 21, 1929 CRIMSON as "a cool and capable passer, heady signal caller, and unerring dropkicker."

But it is Wood's athletic versatility that is astounding. Unbelievable as it may seem. Wood was first line center of the hockey team, a consistent 300 hitter on the baseball squad as first baseman and shortstop, and a nationally-ranked tennis player.

While at Harvard. Wood was named to the American Davis Cup tennis team, playing alongside Bill Tilden.

"Speaking of this man whose list of achievements is almost ridiculous." Adolf Samborski '25, former director of Athletics, said. "He was a terrific athlete, he had a terrific mind and was a terrific person."

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