I am so honored to feature the legendary women’s basketball coach, Ceal Barry! Ceal is a Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame Inductee. She has also been inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in 2006, the University of Colorado Athletic Hall of Fame in 2010, and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in June of 2018. Barry was also named National Coach of the Year for collegiate women’s basketball by the US Basketball Writer’s Association in 1994.
Ceal has been a figure here in Colorado for all of my adult-life! I watched her career, cheered on her winning women’s teams and generally been in awe of her. She is one of the most winning coaches in women’s NCAA history, and it was an honor to get to spend time with her. In our interview, we talk about leadership, life and the importance of having a set of guiding principles in our life.
Bringing over three decades of leadership and guidance to the CU Athletic Department, legendary women’s basketball coach Ceal Barry is in her fourteenth season as the school’s Deputy Athletics Director and Senior Women’s Administrator.
In her 36th year overall at CU, Barry’s Deputy AD duties include sport oversight for all sport programs and Title IX/Gender Equity responsibilities for the Department of Athletics. She began the administrative chapter of her illustrious career on April 1, 2005, just one month after completing a storied 22-year coaching career (1983-05). Barry retired having coached the most games, matches or tournaments (669) and the sixth most seasons of any sport in Colorado athletic history. Her 427 victories are also the most by any coach at the school.
Barry logged a 427-242 record at Colorado with 12 NCAA tournament appearances, including six times in the Sweet 16 and three times in the Elite Eight, 13 20-win seasons, four conference championships and five postseason tournament titles.
She became just the 24th coach in women’s NCAA history to reach 500 career wins-hitting the plateau in February 2004-and her all-time record of 510-284 and .642 winning percentage remain among the all-time best. Her teams posted a 191-134 record in conference play, as 13 of her teams finished first, second or third in the league standings for the regular season. Off the court, Barry graduated all but two four-year players (well over a 95% graduation rate) and has coached 85 Academic All-Conference student-athletes.
“You have to be who you are every day.” ~Ceal Barry
The Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame mission is to inspire by celebrating and sharing the enduring contributions of Colorado’s distinctive women. To achieve this, the Hall educates the people of Colorado about the stories of the women who shaped our state and the nation’s history with courage, leadership, intelligence, compassion, and creativity. Their talents, skills, struggles, and contributions form a legacy that the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame is dedicated to protecting.
Kami is honored to partner with the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame, sharing the stories of their Inductees. You can listen to other Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame interviews here!