Barney Berlinger was one of the great track and field performers in Pennsylvania history. A native of Philadelphia, he set school records in the javelin, pole vault, and shot put, and was the recipient of the Sullivan Award, presented annually to the outstanding amateur athlete in the United States, in 1931.
Following his freshman year of 1928, Berlinger finished third in the decathlon at the U.S. Olympic Trials and competed in that summer’s Olympic Games in Amsterdam. He was the Penn Relays decathlon champion in 1929, 1930, and 191, setting the Carnival record during his senior year (7735.6135 points). His best event of the ten in his record-setting 1931 decathlon performance was the shot put, in which he scored 829.5875 points.
A 1931 graduate, Berlinger was the first recipient of the Class of 1915 Award, bestowed annually on “that member of the senior class who most closely approaches the ideal University of Pennsylvania student-athlete.”
Following graduation with a degree from the Wharton School, he won the national AAU decathlon championship in 1934, and continued to compete nationally and internationally for several years. He returned to Pennsylvania in 1938 to become an assistant track coach to the legendary Lawson Robertson.