NORFOLK (WAVY) – Barry Behrman, a colorful entrepreneur and promoter whose small billiard hall at Five Points in Norfolk was the site of what would eventually become one of the sport’s most popular event died today in Norfolk. He had turned 70 years old on April 1st.
The longtime promoter and poolroom owner opened the original Q-Master Billiards in 1971. Twenty five years ago he moved his operation to Virginia Beach where his 72 tables made it the largest room in the United States.
But it was the U.S. Open 9-Ball event that made Behrman world renowned in the sport of billiards.
Started in 1976 and held at Q-Masters Behrman invited the top 15 players in the U.S. The event celebrated its 40th anniversary last year and became one of the most sought after titles in professional pool. Players from over 20 countries, and fans across the globe gathered in Hampton Roads every year to see what Behrman called “The Masters” of billiards. Hundreds of players participated in the event each year.
When Behrman first got into the business he fell in love with the sport and with the idea of the U.S. Open. “I went to Chicago back in the early 1970’s and there was a U.S. Open straight pool championship. I fell in love with the words ‘U.S. Open.’ After a few years of being in business and having pool exhibitions with Willie Mosconi and Luther Lassiter, I remember like it was yesterday. I picked up the phone and called someone at Billiards Magazine, I asked them if anybody had a U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship, they said no. I said, put me down and I’ll call you back with a few dates. That’s how it all began,” said Behrman.
According to Behrman’s son, Brady, his father died as a result of the effects of MRSA-based pneumonia, which caused septic shock.