UK Women's Basketball

Former UK women's guard Ceal Barry honored

Ceal Barry, the 2011 recipient of the Susan B. Feamster Trailblazer Award, acknowledged the crowd Sunday during a halftime award ceremony. Barry, a member the UK women's basketball team 1974-77, went on to be a head coach for Cincinnati and Colorado.
Ceal Barry, the 2011 recipient of the Susan B. Feamster Trailblazer Award, acknowledged the crowd Sunday during a halftime award ceremony. Barry, a member the UK women's basketball team 1974-77, went on to be a head coach for Cincinnati and Colorado.

It's been 34 years since Big Blue fans whooped and hollered for Ceal Barry.

In the 1976-77 basketball season, Barry was a senior guard on the University of Kentucky women's team that upset No. 2 Tennessee Tech at historic Memorial Coliseum.

"This place went crazy," she said.

Barry returned to the arena Sunday afternoon to once again hear the cheers of UK fans.

This time they were directed at Barry as she received the third annual "Susan B. Feamster Trailblazer Award" during halftime of the UK-Vanderbilt game.

"She is worthy," said Feamster, who in 1974 became the first director of the UK women's varsity athletics program. Feamster proudly accompanied Barry to center court to accept the award.

Barry, who graduated from Assumption High School in Louisville, was a four-year letter winner at Kentucky under coach Debbie Yow. She was the first woman to receive a scholarship for tuition to play basketball at UK.

After graduation, Barry spent four seasons as head coach at Cincinnati and 22 seasons at the helm of the University of Colorado women's basketball program before retiring in 2005. She accumulated 510 career wins.

In 1994, she was named national coach of the year.

Barry now is associate athletics director for academics and student services at Colorado.

The only other time she had visited UK since her playing days was in the 1980s when she interviewed for the coaching position at the school.

Feamster recalled that Barry, during her college days, was one of the top students in business and accounting.

"She walked into my office and said she wanted to be a coach even though she was being recruited by top accounting firms," Feamster said.

"I told her to go home and think about that and come back to see me. She came back later and told me she still wanted to be a coach. We got her a job at Cincinnati, and the rest is history."

Barry high-fived other alumni players Sunday after she received the Trailblazer award on National Girls and Women in Sports Day.

She said the UK award "might be No. 1 on my list of honors. It's from my home state, and I was a young kid here who got a lot of encouragement from Sue and others here to dream big."

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