UMBC welcomes Brian Barrio as director of athletics

UMBC has named Brian Barrio the director of athletics, physical education, and recreation, effective January 2020. He will direct UMBC’s 17-sport NCAA Division I intercollegiate athletics program, all campus recreational programs (including intramurals, club sports, and recreational activities), and the physical education program. 

Commitment to student success

Headshot of middle-aged man, smiling, in jacket and tie.
Brian Barrio. Photo courtesy of Central Connecticut State University.

Barrio comes to UMBC after serving as director of athletics at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) and in leadership positions at the University of Nevada, Pepperdine University, University of Southern California, and the America East Conference.

In each role, Barrio has developed programs and implemented policies supporting student-athlete success. During his tenure at CCSU, the Blue Devils won seven Northeast Conference titles and the CCSU baseball program won the university’s first-ever NCAA Tournament contest. In just one year, he increased athletics fundraising by 44 percent.

“UMBC has a bold and clear vision for how athletics can move the needle on the university’s strategic goals,” Barrio says. “I am thrilled to be trusted to help execute that vision over the coming years. The tremendous coaches and student-athletes already in place at UMBC will make this an exciting transition for me.”

Barrio also shares, “UMBC has made a strong commitment to intercollegiate and recreational athletics—a commitment that will benefit all UMBC students and will foster a vibrant student life. A university that makes that commitment while remaining steadfast in its support for student-athlete academic success and personal development—that’s the total package for an athletics director.”

Retriever fans take in the double overtime win.
Retriever fans take in a double overtime win for UMBC men’s basketball over Hartford, which propelled the team to the America East final in March 2019. Photo by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.

Continuing UMBC’s momentum

Barrio comes to UMBC at a time of sustained athletic and academic success over several years. This includes highlights like the men’s basketball team’s “16-over-1” NCAA victory, swimming and diving programs dominating conference competition, men’s soccer’s numerous America East titles and women’s soccer’s first trip to an NCAA Tournament. Most recently, UMBC’s men’s lacrosse and softball teams overcame challenges to win 2019 America East Championships.

UMBC men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams celebrate their America East victory. Photo courtesy of Colleen Hummel.
UMBC men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams celebrate an America East victory. Photo courtesy of Colleen Hummel.

UMBC student-athletes also continue to excel academically. In fall 2018, they achieved a record grade-point average for the third consecutive semester, posting a mark of 3.14. Over two-thirds of student-athletes posted GPAs of 3.00 or higher.

Welcoming Barrio to Retriever Nation

Barrio earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Boston College in 1999, where he got his start as a team manager for the men’s basketball team and an intern in the sports information office. He went on to earn his Juris Doctorate from the University of California-Hastings College of the Law.

“I am delighted to welcome Brian Barrio to UMBC,” says UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski. “His values and experience are impressive. He will be an outstanding ambassador for UMBC Athletics and a leader who will make an immediate contribution to the campus.” 

Man in black winter jacket stands outside, speaking with a woman in a black winter jacket and knit cap
Brian Barrio during his time as director of athletics at Central Connecticut State University. Photo by Steve McLaughlin.

“Brian really understands the role athletics and recreation can play in building vibrant campus life, driving enrollment, and helping connect people to the university,” says Greg Simmons, M.P.P. ’04, public policy, vice president for Institutional Advancement, who co-chaired the search committee.

UMBC will hold a welcome event and press conference next week to formally introduce Brian Barrio to the Retriever community. It will be on December 17, 11:30 a.m., in the Retriever Room of the UMBC Event Center.

See UMBC Athletics for more information about Brian Barrio.