University of Montevallo wrestler Barrett Dempsey dies

Published 5:19 pm Monday, February 12, 2024

By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

MONTEVALLO – Barrett Dempsey, a freshman at the University of Montevallo and a member of the school’s wrestling team, died at the age of 19, the university announced in a statement on Monday, Feb. 12.

Dempsey reportedly died in a car accident while traveling back to Montevallo from his hometown of Byhalia, Miss.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our wrestling student-athlete Barrett Dempsey,” said Montevallo Vice President for Athletics and Special Programs Mark Richard. “Barrett was a great young man and was well respected by his coaches, teammates, friends and family. We ask for everyone to keep the Dempsey family in your prayers.”

Dempsey was a member of Montevallo’s inaugural wrestling team which began competition in fall 2023. He participated in eight matches for the Falcons during his freshman season and studied with a major in political science.

He graduated from Center Hill High School in spring 2023 where he was accomplished and well-regarded.

Dempsey was a three-sport letterman, competing as a linebacker on the football team and on the boys powerlifting team in addition to wrestling. He finished in third place in the Mississippi state wrestling championships in both his junior and senior seasons.

He was named Mr. Center Hill upon graduation after serving as the student body president and as the president of Mu Alpha Theta. Dempsey was also voted by his peers as the Most Likely to Be Remembered from the Class of 2023.

Montevallo wrestling head coach Daniel Ownbey remembered Dempsey as a kind and passionate person who helped build the program in its first season.

Barrett was an amazing individual,” Ownbey said. “He was a cornerstone to our team, with an amazing personality and work ethic. His competitive spirit, his achievements in the classroom and the support he showed his teammates display what an outstanding student-athlete he was. He gave everything he had to this team and to his academics. He will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. As Barrett would say, ‘Falcons on me, Falcons on three.'”

In response to Dempsey’s death, Montevallo’s home dual against Huntingdon, which was rescheduled to Tuesday, Feb. 13 after it was previously postponed, has been canceled.

Montevallo’s Student Activity Council will hold a candlelight vigil on Tuesday, Feb. 13 at 7:30 p.m. at the Student Activity Center in Dempsey’s honor.