Barbara Karas

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Barbara Karas
Tennis/Swim Coach • West Chester

Barbara Leighton Karas was a multi-talented athlete. Karas graduated from West Chester High School in 1961. In high school, Barbara was a member of the swimming team, ran track, played field hockey, and was the #1 tennis singles player. She also played the French Horn, a talent that evolved to blowing the huntsman horn later as a skilled fox hunter. Moving on to West Chester State College, Karas played tennis and field hockey, graduating in 1965. Barbara was also a member of the U.S. Field Hockey Team during this time. After teaching for one year at West Chester High School, she returned to West Chester State in 1967 where she was an Associate Professor of Health and Physical Education, Head Swim Coach, and Head Women’s Tennis Coach. Karas was one of the first women to finish the Boston Marathon and completed the Colorado Outward Bound as well. Barbara, an avid horse-woman and fox hunter, hunted with the West Chester and West Bradford Hunt Clubs...serving many years as the Field Master. She was also a board member of the Chester County Fox Hunters Association. Furthermore, Karas was an accomplished coach. In 1982 at West Chester State, Barbara’s tennis team won the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Championship. Additionally, her teams qualified for the NCAA Division II National Championships five consecutive years. Moreover, Karas served as the Chairperson of the NCAA Tennis Selection Committee, and was active with the Middle State Tennis Association. As the Head Swim Coach at West Chester, Barbara’s teams placed 2nd in the nation on two occasions. In fact, her 1972 squad won the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) Swimming Championships. Karas was inducted into the West Chester Hall of Fame in 1990. Academically, Barbara also earned a Master’s Degree from Temple. She passed away in April of 2009.
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