Intramural sports formed the bull’s eye on her target of athletic activities when she took the job of physical education teacher at the Dartmouth Middle School in September of 1972.

It took a while for her fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth-grade student/athletes to even hit the target but, by the time they got to high school, many were hitting the bull’s eye with regularity.

Barbara Carreiro’s focus at the middle school was on the basics. Whatever the sport — basketball, softball or field hockey — fundamentals were a high-priority to the phys-ed teacher.

Sports had always played a role in Barbara’s life, but never a major one until after her graduation from Westport High School. In her freshman year at Bridgewater State, she became a manager for the women’s basketball team, played lacrosse and became a key member of the field hockey team. Barbara not only made the varsity team as a freshman, she wound up touring Holland that summer as a member of the Rhode Island Field Hockey Association Touring Team.

From there, it only got better.

Quickly rising through the ranks of the R.I.F.H.A. Barbara was selected by a team that represented the state of Rhode Island in the prestigious 1971 National Field Hockey Tournament. It would prove to be a giant step toward big-time success in the sport that would play a major role in her future.

But Carreiro was just beginning to make a name for herself in local athletics. Not as a player, but as one of the best-known high school coaches of her era.

Her big break came in 1973 when the middle school physical education teacher was named head coach of the first field hockey team in the history of Southeastern Massachusetts University in nearby Dartmouth. That same year she joined the girls basketball coaching staff at Dartmouth High School.

Barbara’s first year at SMU was a nightmare as the field hockey team scored just one goal the entire season. But, by 1976, the nightmare was just a bad dream as Carreiro watched that team find the back of the net some 40 times en route to a 9-1-1 record.

Taking the reins as head coach of the girls basketball team at Dartmouth High prior to the 1974-75 season, Carreiro retained that position until 1983. Her greatest seasons came in 1976-77 when the Lady Indians qualified for the postseason tournament for the first time and, a year later, she almost brought home a state championship.

The 1977-78 team produced (to that point) the finest girls basketball season in school history with only a 60-41 loss to Westwood in the Division 2 South Sectional championship game spoiling a perfect season.

Led by high-scoring Debbie Miller — who averaged 15 points a game — and the rebounding of Jody King — who hauled down an average of 11 a game — Dartmouth rolled through the regular season 18-0 and defeated Norwell (51-39), Medway (33-28) and Seekonk (54-49) in the tournament before succumbing in the title game. Both Miller and King were named to The Standard-Times All-Star team that season and Carreiro coasted to Coach of the Year honors.

In 1985, the 34-year old Carreiro’s coaching career was behind her. But her love for the sport of field hockey kept her competitive juices flowing.

Realizing she no longer had a future in the sport as a player, Barbara turned her attention to officiating and it wasn’t long after beginning her ascent up the ladder that she was nearing the top rung. She was good enough to be one of four officials invited to work the National Sports Festival following a week of trials at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

Later, Barbara received an invitation to officiate an international game in Holland as one of two United States officials and she continued to work field hockey games at various venues while following the athletic fortunes of the young athletes at both the Dartmouth Middle and High Schools for several years before finally settling into retirement. Her 1977-78 Girls Basketball Team was inducted into the Dartmouth High School Hall of Fame in 1992.

Editor's Note: This is the latest in a 50-day series of Buddy's Best: Coaching Legends, counting down each day from 50 all the way to No. 1. Read the series as it unfolds at SouthCoastToday.com/BuddysBest