Russel Barber

Russel Barber

  • Year Inducted : 1996
  • Sport : Progam Director

About Inductee


Russel Barber served the city of Huntsville faithfully as the Huntsville YMCAs Program Director for three years followed by a 39 year stint as the YMCA Chief Executive Officer. Russels main focus during his tenure with the YMCA was to develop a program to ensure that all individuals who wished to participate in athletics had an opportunity. In 1944, when the Alabama High School Athletic Association banned girls basketball as a high school sport, Russel organized a girls YMCA basketball league. He took this program to a state wide level and kept the program alive until the AHSAA brought girls basketball back as a sanctioned sport in 1970. In 1965, under Russel Barbers leadership, Huntsville led the south in starting an open membership policy. Under this policy anyone who desired to participate in YMCA programs were allowed to regardless of religion, race, creed, or nationality. Russel was instrumental in the growth of the YMCA program in North Alabama, and oversaw the planning and construction of several of the facilities in use today. He also gave of his time to several handicapped childrens causes and retarded citizens causes. Russel Barber has received numerous awards, and among these was having a camp he developed, Former Camp Cha La-Kee, named after him (Camp Barber) in 1980.

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