Ceal Barry Makes Women's Basketball Hall Of Fame

Ceal Barry

Former CU women's basketball coach Ceal Barry (Photo courtesy CUBuffs.com)

The University of Colorado has another Hall of Famer.

Former women's basketball coach Ceal Barry will be inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2018. The official announcement came Monday night, February 12.

Barry was the Buffs' head coach for 22 seasons, from 1983-2005. Her teams won four regular season Big 8 titles and four Big 8 tournament championships and advanced to the NCAA Tournament 12 times. Six of those teams went to the Sweet Sixteen or Elite 8.

Barry will be inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame as part of a seven-member class on June 9 in Knoxville, Tennessee.

  • Barry was a four-time Big Eight Coach of the Year
  • She had a 427-242 (.638) record in 22 seasons at CU and 510-284 (.642) in 26 seasons overall as a Division I head coach
  • She has been at CU as a coach or administrator for 35 years

LILBURN, Ga. – Former University of Colorado women's basketball head coach Ceal Barry has been selected as part of the 2018 Women's Basketball Hall of Fame Class in an announcement Monday night. She is among seven inductees that are set to enter the Hall in Knoxville, Tenn., on June 9. (the full class is listed at the bottom of the release).

Barry was CU's head coach for 22 seasons from 1983 to 2005, leading the Buffs to four regular-season Big Eight championships, four Big Eight Tournament championships and one Big 12 Tournament championship. She also guided the Buffs to the NCAA Tournament 12 times, including three teams that reached the Elite Eight and three more in the Sweet Sixteen.

She is the winningest head coach in CU athletics history across all sports with 427 wins.

Barry was named Big Eight Coach of the Year four times, including 1989, 1993, 1994 and 1995. She was also selected as the WBCA District Coach of the Year in 1993 and 1995, and was chosen as National Coach of the Year in 1994 by USBWA, Basketball Times and Basketball America. Her teams were recognized with the Big Eight Sportsmanship Award three times and she was named the Colorado Sportswoman of the Year in 1990. Barry also earned the WBCA Carol Eckman Award in 1995, given annually to an active coach who "exemplifies Eckman's spirit, integrity and character through sportsmanship, commitment to the student-athlete, honesty, ethical behavior, courage and dedication to purpose." In both 2001 and 2002, she was a finalist for the Naismith Coach of the Year.

Three of Barry's players earned AP All-America awards, including first-team honoree Shelley Sheetz in 1995. Sheetz was one of three of Barry's players to earn Big Eight Player of the Year honors, joining Bridget Turner in 1989 and Jamillah Lang (co-winner) in 1994. Barry also helped four of her players earn Big Eight Newcomer of the Year. In total, Barry's teams had 57 players earn all-conference honors from either the Big Eight or the Big 12.

She was hired at CU on April 12, 1983, by former athletic director Eddie Crowder. She replaced Sox Walseth as head coach, who had spent three seasons as the women's team's head coach following a 20-year stint as the men's team's head coach. Walseth, one of Barry's mentors, is second behind Barry among all CU sports with 338 career coaching victories between the men's and women's teams.

Barry guided CU to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1988, helping the Buffs win their first-ever postseason game over Eastern Illinois in the first round that season as the team finished the year 21-11 overall. The following season she led CU to its first Big Eight championship and first conference tournament championship as Colorado went 27-4 overall and 14-0 in the Big Eight.

One of Barry's proudest moments came in the second round of the 1989 NCAA Tournament when the Buffs broke the Coors Events Center record with a sellout crowd of 11,199 fans on March 18, 1989 vs. UNLV. She notes that every ticket for that game was purchased; none was given away.

After missing the postseason with two winning records over the next two seasons, Barry's squad returned to the NCAA Tournament in 1992 and finished 22-9 overall, placing second in the Big Eight during the regular season before capturing the tournament championship. That season sparked a stretch of dominance that has not been seen in team sports at CU.

In 1993, her team went 27-4, including 12-2 in the Big Eight, to win its second conference championship. After a double-overtime loss in the Big Eight semifinals, Barry's team caught fire in the NCAA Tournament, reaching the Elite Eight after upsetting No. 6 Stanford in the Sweet Sixteen.

CU made it back-to-back Big Eight championships in 1994 as the team went 27-5 overall and 12-2 in the Big Eight. The Buffs were upset in the tournament championship game in overtime, but recovered to win two NCAA Tournament games over Marquette and Oregon. CU was ranked as high as No. 2 in the AP and WBCA polls in March, the highest rankings in school history.

Colorado returned to the Elite Eight in 1995 and had its best season in school history, going 30-3 overall and 14-0 in the Big Eight with its third straight conference championship. The Buffs cruised through the Big Eight Tournament with a 61-45 win over No. 23 Kansas in the championship game. Only a last-second loss to Georgia in the Elite Eight kept the Buffs out of the Final Four. CU matched 1994's high ranking of No. 2 in the final AP poll of the year.

The Buffs won the Big Eight Tournament in 1996 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. They won the conference tournament again in 1997, the inaugural season of the Big 12, when they reached the Sweet Sixteen before bowing out to eventual national champion Tennessee in an eight-point loss. The 1996-97 season was the sixth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and eighth of Barry's CU career.

Barry's team had one more stretch of dominance in the early 2000s before her retirement from coaching. In 2001 she guided CU to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Her 2002 squad then returned to the Elite Eight, defeating No. 22 LSU and No. 5 Stanford in the second and third rounds before a loss to No. 2 Oklahoma ended the season. CU made another deep postseason run in 2003 to the Sweet Sixteen, upsetting No. 12-ranked North Carolina in the second round before suffering a two-point loss to No. 11 Villanova. Her final NCAA Tournament appearance came in 2004 to cap a 22-win season.

Barry retired from coaching after the 2005 season, wrapping up her 22-season CU career with a 427-242 (.638) record, including 191-134 (.588) in conference games. She has the most wins, conference wins, regular-season conference championships (4), conference tournament championships (5), and NCAA Tournament appearances (12) of any other coach in Colorado women's basketball history. She had 17 winning seasons in 22 years and finished in the top three of the conference standings 13 times.

In her team's 13 seasons in the Big Eight Conference, Barry's teams went 184-96 in conference games. She won more regular-season games (118), league titles (4), tournament titles (4), coach of the year honors (4) and coached more newcomers of the year (4) than any other coach in Big Eight history, while tying for the most NCAA Tournament appearances with seven during that span.

Off the court, her teams excelled in the classroom. Barry graduated all but two of her players during her 22 seasons as head coach and had 85 student-athletes earn academic all-conference.

Prior to joining CU in 1983, she spent four years as the head coach at Cincinnati, leading the Bearcats to an 83-42 (.664) record. In 26 total years as a Division I head coach, Barry had a 510-284 (.642) record. In Feb. 2004, she became the 24th coach in NCAA history to win 500 games.

Only Frank Potts (track, 41 seasons), Les Fowler (golf, 29), Mark Simpson (golf, 29), Richard Rokos(skiing, currently 28th), Frank Prentup (baseball, 24), Dick Gray (men's tennis, 23) and Mark Wetmore (cross country/track & field, currently 23rd) have served more seasons than Barry as a head coach at CU. Anne Kelly (women's golf) is currently in her 21st season as head coach at CU.

Following her coaching career, she joined CU's administrative staff and is currently Colorado's Senior Associate Athletic Director for Internal Operations and Senior Women's Administrator. She is in her 35th year at the University of Colorado. In her current position, she oversees the men's and women's basketball and women's golf programs. She also supervises several student services arms of the department, including sports medicine, strength & conditioning, academics and student wellness.

Barry is still very involved in women's basketball and is viewed as an ambassador for the sport. She currently serves on the NCAA Women's Basketball Division I Championship Committee and as the secretary on the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame board. From 2007-11, she was on the NCAA Women's Basketball Oversight Committee. She also occasionally joins the broadcast ranks as a color analyst for both men's and women's basketball for Root Sports (now AT&T SportsNet), FSN Rocky Mountain, and for the preseason and postseason WNIT championships.

Outside of her collegiate coaching career, she coached with USA Basketball eight times, working with Tara VanDerveer in coaching several national teams. She was an assistant on the 1996 gold medal-winning United States Olympics Basketball team and was head coach of the 2004 U.S. Junior World Championships qualifying team, which went undefeated en route to the gold medal in the qualifying tournament.

In addition to all of the awards she earned while she was coaching, she was inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in 2006 and CU's Hall of Fame in 2010. In January 2011, she became the third recipient of the University of Kentucky's Susan B. Feamster Trailblazer Award.

In 2003 she was presented with the CU Alumni Association's Robert Stearns Award in recognition of one's extraordinary contributions to the university. Making the award even more special for her, she was nominated by her team's captains that year, Linda Lappe, Sabrina Scott and Diana Spencer.

She is a native of Louisville, Ky., and graduated from Assumption High School in Louisville, where she lettered in basketball, volleyball and field hockey. She earned her bachelor's degree in accounting from Kentucky, where she was a four-year letterwinner in basketball and a three-year letterwinner in field hockey. She was among the first class to earn women's basketball scholarships at Kentucky and was coached by Feamster and Debbie Yow. She followed her bachelor's degree from Kentucky with her master's in education from Cincinnati in 1979. 

What They're Saying...

Rick George, Director of Athletics at CU "Ceal has been an integral part of our athletic department since she arrived in 1983. Her accomplishments in basketball are unparalleled at CU and those accomplishments alone make her one of the all-time greats at CU. However, her impact as our Senior Associate AD and our Senior Women's Administrator is just as great. Her daily role in our athletic department has helped us achieve much success on and off the court. I can't imagine where we would be if Ceal Barry were not an integral part of our department."

Carol Callan, National Team Director at USA Basketball "It is impossible to adequately capture the impact Ceal has had on women's basketball overall and, specifically, in Colorado. She inspired several generations of young girls to enjoy the game by putting talented, hard-working teams on the floor who competed with discipline from beginning to end. Simply, she modeled what she expected from her athletes. She stands for competing with integrity, dignity and grace. And, she has fun along the way – it is still a game. USA Basketball also benefited from the contributions of Ceal as she coached several teams including a stint as a 2000 Olympic Team assistant coach."

Sherri Coale, Head Coach at Oklahoma "Ceal Barry was one of the cornerstones of Big 12 women's basketball. She was an unbelievable coach, as is evidenced by her record and accomplishments, but more than that, in her role as the head coach at Colorado, she was a champion for the sport of women's basketball. She built a powerhouse program, yet she was always cognizant of the role all coaches must play in the development of our student-athletes and in the global growth of our game."

Philip P. DiStefano, Chancellor at CU Boulder "For the past 35 years, I have watched Ceal Barry elevate the profile of CU Athletics as both a legendary coach and senior administrator. After a successful 22 years of coaching here, she extended her CU service as a leader of the Athletic Department who continues to advance our many programs. She has always been a tireless supporter of the Buffs and acted in the best interest of our student-athletes. As the coach with the most wins in any sport in CU history, I can't think of anyone more deserving of this Hall of Fame honor than Ceal."

Britt (Hartshorn) Gomer, four-year letterwinner (1998-2002) "As a coach she taught me the importance of intense discipline, of completing each task as a student-athlete, whether it was practice, film, weights, class, or pre-game warm-up with the greatest attention to effort and detail. It has carried into all areas of my life as an adult."

Jenny (Roulier) Huth, former All-Big 12 player, four-year letterwinner (1998-02) and current assistant at UCLA "Coach Barry taught me so many lessons: She instilled hard work, preparation and confidence into me as a player. One memory was when I was in a shooting slump, she came over to me at practice and said, let me show you how this is done. She proceeded to drain two-handed set shot for the top of the key, swish, swish, swish. I was like my old lady coach cannot beat me. She sure did that day, but we laughed and goofed off and the next day, my slump was over. Another valuable thing she said to me was, "Roo (that was my nickname), you love the game and I never want to take that passion from you (after a really difficult practice)." She was hard on me, but in the end, I'm thankful she was. It helped me reach my potential and I never lost my passion. As a coach now, I call her, confide in her and always catch up time at the Final Four. I have taken so many of the fundamentals she taught me on both sides of the floor into coaching and I still remember how prepared I felt each game, I hope our team does too. And even after I graduated, and faced the death of my mom, she was one of the very first phone calls I received. I trusted her—we had been through a lot in a four-year career together, so who better to hear from. Coach Barry, in the State of Colorado, could run for mayor. She always received a standing ovation every time her name was announced with our team at Folsom field, she was national coach of the year, three Elite Eight's, conference titles, countless 20-win seasons and Olympic coach. She has represented all that is good in the game: class, integrity, hard work, professionalism and excellence—a true ambassador of women's basketball!"

Jamillah Lang, former Big Eight Player of the Year at CU, four-year letterwinner (1990-94) "During my amazing ride at CU, Coach Barry introduced me to a superior level of hard work, sacrifice and perseverance. Her leadership and mentorship style challenged and ultimately empowered me to stretch myself limitlessly and go above and beyond to achieve excellence. She was and remains a true inspiration and I owe an incredible degree of gratitude to her."

Bill Marolt, former CU Athletic Director "Under Ceal Barry's leadership the women's basketball program at the University of Colorado became a national powerhouse. Her will to win is legendary and led to tremendous success on the basketball court. At a point in time when the athletic department struggled for recognition, her teams were the talk of the campus, Boulder and the State of Colorado. It was an incredible journey over the 22 years that she coached and she clearly made a difference."

Benita Martin, two-year letterwinner (1988-90) "Congratulations on being elected into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. This is a long overdue but so well-deserved honor. Coach Barry is a pioneer, not only for women's basketball, but for women's sports nationwide. She helped to propel CU into national prominence and built the program from the ground up with the utmost integrity. "One of the greatest examples of a leader is a person that motivates others to achieve their highest level of potential. Coach Barry exemplifies true leadership on and off the court as evidenced by several conference titles, NCAA appearances and scholar-athletes. She expected nothing but the best from her players but was always willing to work overtime in her day-to-day preparation. This is a great day for CU, the City of Boulder, the State of Colorado and women's basketball."

JR Payne, current CU Head Coach "In a lot of ways in our athletic department, Ceal Barry is Colorado. Coming here as a coaching staff, we thought, 'wow, what an incredible opportunity we have,' to not just be mentored by someone of that level of success and stature, but to be surrounded by every day and have an opportunity to rub shoulders with someone that has poured their heart and soul into the game of women's basketball and into the University of Colorado. To have that experience, for us, has been second-to-none. You don't get nominated for the hall of fame without having just an incredible impact. They obviously had great teams and went to Elite Eights and won a lot of titles and games. But the thing that's special to me is the way her past players feel about her. The people that jump in on Facebook to talk about, 'Coach Barry this and Coach Barry that.' And I love the way her players react to her when they come back to Boulder and how excited a lot of them are to come back and be reunited with her."

David Plati, CU Sports Information Staff (1978-current) "I think what people might forget is that when Ceal took over the program, we made the jump from the Intermountain Conference into the Big Eight in her first year. Kansas and Missouri were the powerhouses, and even though we had fared well prior to the conference sponsoring the sport, it was a big jump for us. Back then, it could take years to become successful in a new league. We had two years of growing pains, winning just 16 games in her first two seasons, but come year three, we went 21-9 and were well on our way to becoming the dominant program in the Big Eight and early on in the Big 12 for the rest of her tenure."

Marsha Sharp, former Women's Basketball Coach and current Associate Athletic Director at Texas Tech "Along with all of my other friends at Texas Tech, I wanted to send you my congratulations on being inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. Well deserved and long overdue. You've done so many great things for women's basketball, of course at the University of Colorado, and as much as that, with women's basketball across the country—you're involvement with the Olympic team. All the things you did the help move the sport forward have been amazing. No one deserves it more and I'm really proud of you."

Shelley Sheetz, former All-America guard at CU, four-year letterwinner (1991-95) "Picking CU [out of high school] and playing for Coach Barry was an honor. She's not only a legend at CU but she's a legend in women's basketball and I'm blessed to have played for her for four years. How she carried herself, how she ran her program, the integrity and ethics she had, she set the standard in all of those areas. That's why she won the Carol Eckman Award my senior year. That's the highest honor a coach can have besides winning coach of the year and it's because of her morals and values as a coach. I've taken everything I learned from her into my 15 years of coaching. I always ask myself, 'What would Ceal do, like WWCD?' I'm trying to emulate into my program everything I have learned from her. She was incredible to play for, very demanding. I learned that I could always give more and I wouldn't have learned that without her. I always had more to give, and the discipline she had in her program helped us achieve great things. We would not have had the accolades as a team, or I as an individual, had she not pushed me. I had a lot of respect for her when I was playing and now that I'm coaching, mentoring student-athletes at Loyola or Boston College or Denver or Pepperdine or San Diego or Washington State—anywhere I've been I've tried to be like her...She absolutely should be in the Hall of Fame."

Tracy Tripp, former All-Big Eight player at CU and current CU Director of Human Resources, four-year letterwinner (1985-89) "Ceal is one of the pioneers of women's basketball and I feel fortunate to have played for her. Her passion, work ethic and commitment to the game were unparalleled and it is those attributes that she instilled in her players. Ceal has been a mentor and role model to me and many former players who entered the coaching profession wanting to follow in her footsteps and emulate her coaching style. Not only has she left her mark on women's basketball, she has made an impact on the lives of many student-athletes and that will be her legacy."

Tara VanDerveer, current Stanford Head Coach and former U.S. Women's National Team Head Coach "Ceal has meant a great deal to the game and I am so happy for her. She is everything you'd want in a coach – knowledgeable, an outstanding teacher and hard worker. You knew you were going to get a battle when she was on the other bench. More importantly, she's just a phenomenal person and I'm thrilled that she is taking her deserved place in the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame."

CU Coaching Hall of Famers:

Hank Iba, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (Inducted in 1969) and National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame (2006)

Shelby Wilson, National Wrestling Hall of Fame (1982)

Bob Beattie, U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame (1984) Bill Marolt, U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame (1993) (also selected for success as an athlete)

Bill McCartney, College Football Hall of Fame (2013)

Ceal Barry, Women's Basketball Hall of Fame (2018)

CU Athlete Hall of Famers: Byron White, College Football Hall of Fame (Inducted in 1952)

Burdette Haldorson, U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame (team member of 1956 USA men's basketball)

Buddy Werner, U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame (1964) Bill Toomey, USA Track & Field Hall of Fame (1975)

Jimmie Heuga, U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame (1976) Billy Kidd, U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame (1976)

Greg Jones, U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame (1978)

Peter Patterson, U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame (1978)

Joe Romig, College Football Hall of Fame (1984)

Michael Gallagher, U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame (1988)

Hale Irwin, World Golf Hall of Fame (1992)

Dick Anderson, College Football Hall of Fame (1993) Bill Marolt, U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame (1993)

Bobby Anderson, College Football Hall of Fame (2006)

Tom Jacobs, U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame (2007) Cary Adgate, U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame (2008)

Daron Rahlves, U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame (2010)

Alfred Williams, College Football Hall of Fame (2010)

Jeremy Bloom, U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame (2012)

Tom Woodard, National Black Golf Hall of Fame (2012)

John Wooten, College Football Hall of Fame (2012)

Dean Lahr, National Wrestling Hall of Fame (2014) Herb Orvis, College Football Hall of Fame (2016)

CU Administrator Hall of Famers

Harry Carlson, NACDA Hall of Fame (1972)

Fred Casotti, CoSIDA Hall of Fame (1996) Mike Moran, CoSIDA Hall of Fame (2002)

Women's Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2018

Katie Smith, player (2-time WNBA champion, 3-time Olympic gold medalist)

Chamique Holdsclaw, player (led Tennessee to three national championships)

Tina Thompson (4-time WNBA champion)

Ceal Barry, coach

Rose Marie Battaglia, veteran contributor

Chris Dailey, assistant coach

Micki DeMoss, assistant coach

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