Former Colorado women's basketball coach Ceal Barry announces retirement

Ceal Barry, who had a successful 22-season run as Colorado's women's basketball coach before transitioning to a role in the school's administration, is retiring from college athletics effective July 1.

"It's the right time," Barry, who turned 65 in April, said in a statement. "I've thoroughly enjoyed my time in intercollegiate athletics, and I couldn't have picked a better place than the University of Colorado to spend the vast majority of my career. It was a privilege to remain at CU for 15 years after retiring from coaching and be involved in so many aspects of athletics and working to make a variety of things better for the student-athlete."

Barry has worked 43 years in college sports, the last 37 at Colorado. A former basketball and field hockey player at Kentucky from 1973 to 1977, she then began her women's basketball coaching career as an assistant at Cincinnati, and became the Bearcats' head coach at age 24 in 1979.

She took over at Colorado for the 1983-84 season, and led the Buffaloes to 12 NCAA tournament appearances, including three trips to the Elite Eight. She was the Big Eight Coach of the Year four times, and went 427-242 at Colorado for an overall head-coaching record of 510-284. Her 427 victories are the most by any coach in any sport at Colorado. Under Barry, the Buffs won four regular-season conference titles and five conference tournament championships, the last being at the inaugural Big 12 tournament in 1997.

Barry left coaching after the 2004-05 season to join Colorado's administrative staff, eventually becoming deputy athletic director. She spent the past three years on the NCAA's Division I Women's Basketball Championship Committee.

Barry came to Colorado when the school was still in the Big Eight, and saw transitions to the Big 12 and then the Pac-12. In 2018, she was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tennessee.

"I can't express what Ceal has meant to this university, department and to me personally," Colorado athletic director Rick George said in a statement. "She has accomplished more than most as both a coach and then as an administrator and has had a career that will leave its mark on CU for years to come."