Grad Year: 1991
Year Inducted: 2004
James Barbera ’91 is one of several wrestlers credited with helping build the Anchormen into a dynasty in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Barbera is one of only five former Rhode Island College grapplers who were part of New England College Conference Wrestling Association (NECCWA) Championship teams in each of their four years at RIC.
Barbera earned All-New England status in each of his four seasons on the mat. He was the NECCWA champion at 150 lbs. as a junior in 1990 and at 142 lbs. as a senior in 1991. Barbera was an NCAA All-American at 142 lbs., placing eighth in 1991. He was a two-time Academic All-American in 1990 and 1991, the only RIC wrestler to achieve this feat in the program’s history.
Barbera was RIC’s John E. Hetherman Award recipient, signifying him as the College’s top male senior student-athlete, in 1991. He was twice named to Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities, earning this honor in 1990 and 1991.
Barbera continued to wrestle after college, taking home first place at the AAU Wrestling National Championships for ages 30 and over in 1999. He earned a first place finish at the MAWA Wrestling National Championships in the open division a year earlier in 1998.
He earned a bachelor of arts degree from Rhode Island College in 1991.
A native of South Kingstown, Barbera resides in Kingston, Rhode Island with his wife Martha ’02.