Barrows was a native of Storm Lake, Iowa. He graduated from Idea Grove
HS in 1924, and then taught for one year in a one-room rural school,
doing chores for room and board. He saved $700 so he could attend
Coe where he met Irene, who was studying music at Coe. Irene Charipar
Barrows was related to Anton Dvorak, a Czech composer, and came from a
pioneer Cedar Rapids family. They were married in 1930 in the
Little Brown Church in Nashua.
at Coe, Coach Moray Eby described Barrows as "the best athlete I ever
coached." He was all-conference in football three times and
all-state honorable mention twice. He set records on the mile
relay team as well as in the 440 (49 seconds); in the 220 (21.8
seconds), and in the long jump (21.8). Ed Barrows also received a
position on Coach Eby's all-time Coe Team, created with the Eby's
favorite players from his 29 years of coaching.
Barrows remembered his two favorite memories of his athletic
experiences at Coe.
The most thrill I have gotten out of football
was Homecoming 1929 when with fine assistance from Frisbee - Hines -
DeWitt - Hunter - Allen and the game I returned the opening kickoff 95
yd. for a touchdown - That was on the old field and I ran
directly towards Voorhees Hall for the score.
The other that I’ll never forget took place
one day on the practice field. After practice, Coach Eby said to
me, 'President Gage wants to speak to you for a minute,' and pointed to
the bleachers across the field where one person was sitting. As I
got closer, I could see it was President Gage. The two of us went
along, and as I sat down he said, 'Ed, as you know, your name is a
household word everywhere, and I just want you to know that carried
with that is a responsibility.' At that, Gage stood up and parted
with these words: 'If there is anything I can ever do for you, keep me
in mind.' And you know, Gage's words that day are just as clear
to me today as though it were yesterday.
Barrows was supposed to be in the class of 1929, but he stayed in
school an extra semester to play football and graduated with class of
1930. After graduation Ed Barrows was commissioned through Coe ROTC in
1929 and spent 27 of 40 years on active duty in various
positions. Also during those years, he coached in Iowa (Fort
Dodge) and Minnesota high schools and was in education for 10
years. He had a twin brother; both coached in the same conference
for three years, competing against each other in football, basketball
& track. Ed Barrows studied law in the evenings and passed the Iowa
Bar in 1938 to enter law practice just before he was called to active
duty in '41. During war he was commandant of a military school of
900 cadets in St. Paul, Minn. Ed Barrows returned to law practice
in 1946, and then went back into military when Korean War broke out in
1950. He worked as a judge advocate and in selective service
until retirement in 1968. Ed Barrows then moved to Redland where
he worked for the West Law Book Publishing Co. of St. Paul.
his lifetime, Ed Barrows was also a Big Ten football official for seven
years. When asked to recall any amusing incidents from his
experiences as an official he retold a story from a Carleton-St. Olaf
Working the Carleton-St. Olaf game (yearly
grudge battle) several years ago, I called an infraction against St.
Olaf and marked off the yardage. A few minutes later a St. Olaf
tackle shuffled up and said, 'You stink'. I quickly marched off
15 yards and asked the astonished tackle 'Can you smell it from here?'
Barrows was honored at Coe by being the President of the Alumni
Association, receiving the Coe Alumni Award of Merit in 1971, and being
inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame in 1975. In 1979 the Barrows
Endowed Scholarship was created, and in 1980 seven benches were donated
by he and his wife to Coe's campus. Ed Barrows passed away in May of