I’ve never written an obituary for a parrot before, but it is safe to say there has never been a parrot in the FCIAC like Larry Byrd, an icon at Trinity Catholic, who passed away today.
Most fittingly, Byrd was 33, the uniform number of the basketball player he was named for.
Byrd was the pet of former Trinity Catholic athletic director Tracy Nichols, and he was known throughout the school, the athletic department and beyond. Larry was a fixture in Nichols’ small office. He became good friends with visitors, especially basketball officials who would come in to change and shower after games.
Nichols would let Larry roam free and there were seldom any issues. For some reason Larry did not like Tom Kriz, the school’s girls basketball coach, and would attack Kriz’s feet whenever he came in the office.
Larry also liked the rafters in the boys locker room that adjoined the office. That is how he met former UConn men’s basketball coach Jim Calhoun. On a recruiting visit to scout Rashamel Jones in the mid ’90s, Calhoun came in to use the bathroom and heard what he believed was someone saying “Larry, Larry.”
Calhoun finally spotted Larry in the locker room and was stunned at what he saw. Calhoun said he told the story to his wife, who didn’t believe him. On Calhoun’s next trip to Trinity he brought his wife to verify that he was not making it up.
Two hours after posting on Facebook that Larry had passed, there were 53 messages of condolences and shared stories. They came from former Trinity players, sports parents and even opposing FCIAC coaches.
Perhaps Larry could not go on knowing that Trinity is closing this year. He certainly lived a rich life and was the perfect cohort for Nichols and his sarcastic sense of humor.
As a former Trinity assistant said when he saw Nichols and Larry together, “There goes the parrot with the talking athletic director.”