Ceal Barry’s incredible career has taken her from the realm of coaching to being an instrumental part of college athletics administration for both the NCAA and the University of Colorado.She is a trailblazer who will now have her legacy preserved with an induction into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
As the CU’s longest tenured coach for all sports, Barry became the 24th coach in women’s NCAA history to reach 500 wins with an overall record of 510-284. During those 22 seasons in Boulder, she guided the Buffaloes to 12 NCAA tournament appearances (six times in the Sweet 16, three times in Elite Eight). She was also named the U.S. Basketball Writers Association National Coach of the Year in 1994.
In an interview with the Lexington Herald-Leader, Barry was moved to forever be a part of a game that gave her so much. “I had an idea that it was going to happen for the last six months but you never want to get your hopes up until they vote,” Barry said. “But in late February they called me at my office and told me and I was so thrilled about it.”
Barry’s basketball journey goes back to her native state of Kentucky, where she played as a forward at Kentucky from 1973-77. Her impressive coaching resume started in 1979 when she took over at Cincinnati. She spent five seasons with the Bearcats before transitioning to Colorado in 1983. After her Colorado career, she also coached the the US women’s basketball team in 2011 and was part of last year’s NCAA tournament selection committee. Barry stepped away from coaching full time in 2005 to become one of CU’s associate athletic director.
”It’s been such a great ride,” she said. “I’ve had a really long and really fulfilling career in basketball and this is such an honor. Anytime you’re recognized nationally by your peers it’s incredibly humbling.”
Barry is the first person with ties to the University of Colorado to be inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. She was honored at a ceremony in Knoxville, Tenn. as one of seven honorees that included Dr. Rose Marie Battaglia, Chris Dailey, Mickie DeMoss, Chamique Holdsclaw, Katie Smith and Tina Thompson.