Johnny Bariola, a former two-sport standout in Moorhead, was inducted into the Mississippi Association of Community Colleges Conference (MACCC) Sports Hall of Fame on Tuesday, Apr. 27.
Bariola competed in baseball and football for then-Sunflower Junior College from 1959-1961. He played both sports under legendary figures Jimmy Bellipanni (baseball) and Jim Randall (football).
On the baseball diamond, Bariola was a member of the Trojans 1961 state championship baseball team, while on the gridiron, he was a team captain who was later selected to the All-State honorable mention team as a guard.
After his time at SJC, he moved onto Western Kentucky State College (now Western Kentucky University), where he was a two-time letterwinner in 1961 and 1962 for the Hilltoppers football team. During his time in Bowling Green (Ky.), he was named to the All-Ohio Valley Second Team in both seasons, as well as being given the Best Linebacker Award for the Ohio Valley Conference as a senior.
Bariola obtained a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in administration from Western Kentucky State College. In his post-WKSC days, he later went on to spend three years as an assistant football coach at Bowling Green High School, before serving as the head coach for one season. It was at BGHS that he also spent time as an assistant baseball and tennis coach.
After his time in Kentucky ended, Bariola returned to the Delta, where he was in farming in Itta Bena until 2020. He was also an alderman in Itta Bena for two terms.
He is married to Paula and the couple lives in Greenwood. They have two kids, Paige Bariola McKay and John Bariola, Jr., as well as four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.