BOULDER – Interim Athletics Director Ceal Barry on Wednesday emphasized how critical the summer months are for University of Colorado athletics and pledged that she and her senior staff will stay focused as the school searches for a permanent AD.
Speaking at an on-campus news conference alongside Chancellor Phil DiStefano, Barry said, “Our purpose as a senior staff and the rest of the staff is to do our jobs with a sense of urgency, without distraction and to stay focused.
“We have competitors in the Pac-12 that we really don’t want to allow to get a leg up on (CU). We’re a proud university, a proud athletic department. I’ve accepted this interim position to help the university move on.”
“I believe Ceal’s long experience and credibility will provide us with strong leadership as we search for a new athletic director,” said DiStefano, who named Barry interim athletics director in the wake of Mike Bohn’s resignation on Tuesday.
Bohn held CU’s AD post for eight years and, said DiStefano, “served the university in an important time of transition and challenge. He made strong contributions . . .”
Barry, CU’s winningest women’s basketball coach, emphasized that June, July and August represent “an important preparation time” for incoming student-athletes. She said 100 freshmen are scheduled to report this summer – 79 of them scholarship student-athletes. Summer classes begin next Monday.
By early next week, DiStefano plans to begin assembling a search committee and make a decision about hiring a search firm to assist CU. He said he would “love” to have Barry apply, but added, “That’s certainly her choice.”
Asked if she would be interested, Barry laughed and answered, “I’ve been doing this for about 22 hours . . . I want to keep my focus on the next three months.”
DiStefano said he met with men’s basketball coach Tad Boyle on Tuesday and newly hired football coach Mike MacIntyre on Wednesday. “I’ve asked them to work with Ceal and me during this interim period and make sure we’re moving forward, not only in their sports but in all sports,” DiStefano said.
The Buffs’ search for Bohn’s replacement, said DiStefano, will focus on someone qualified to manage a $50 million-$60 million budget that likely will grow annually. “What’s really key is that athletics is a big business,” he said. “I want to make sure we have an AD who will run the athletic department like a business but also have as a No. 1 priority fund-raising not just for the facilities we need for football but for other issues as well.”
Barry said she equated fund-raising to recruiting and trying to land a high-profile prospect: “I compare fund-raising in the same vein. We have to show trust, build relationships with potential donors and show them that this is a wise investment. They may have other options.”
CU’s new AD, noted DiStefano, will be “an individual who has been in charge of an operation. I’m not saying a business person vs. someone who comes from a university in athletics . . . but business and fund raising perspectives are crucial.”
DiStefano said Bohn will paid his annual base salary of $306,000 for the three years remaining on his contract. The payments, said DiStefano, will come from athletic department revenue over time – “and not from any taxpayer dollars or tuition.”
Barry, whose interim stint begins on June 3, currently serves as associate athletic director for student services and senior woman administrator (an NCAA designation) in the department.
Hired as the women’s head basketball coach in 1983 by then-athletic director Eddie Crowder, she has a 30-year history of involvement in CU athletics. She retired from coaching in 2005 as CU’s winningest coach ever in all sports (427 victories), leading her teams to 12 NCAA tournament appearances, including six Sweet 16 and three Elite Eight appearances. Over 95 percent of her student-athletes graduated and 85 of her players earned Academic All-Conference honors.