Central Connecticut State University President Zulma R. Toro announced today that Brian Barrio, a native of Old Lyme, Conn., is returning to his home state to become CCSU's Director of Athletics.
Barrio comes to CCSU from the University of Nevada and has spent time at Pepperdine University, the University of Southern California, and both the America East Conference and the Ivy League.
"We are very pleased to welcome Brian and his family as the newest members of our Central family," Toro said in making the announcement to the campus community. "Brian's objectives and priorities for CCSU and our athletics department stood out to the committee and myself during the search process. We are excited to welcome him back to Connecticut, and we are confident that he will build upon the successful foundation of our Blue Devils athletics tradition."
Barrio, who will oversee the department's 16 varsity sports and nearly 400 student-athletes, began his career in collegiate athletics administration as an intern with the CCSU Blue Devils in 2003. His diverse background is highlighted by accomplishments in fundraising, student-athlete academics, compliance, and athletic success.
"I am honored that Central Connecticut State University, President Toro, and the entire search committee have given me this opportunity," Barrio said. "As someone who grew up here, with memories of watching games at Detrick Gymnasium as a kid and who had my first internship in college athletics at Central, I do not take the responsibility of this position lightly. I am intent on giving our student-athletes and coaches the support they need to continue competing for championships and serving as a rallying point for the CCSU community, as well as for the city of New Britain."
"We believe Brian will be a great ambassador for both the University and our athletics programs," said Vice President for Institutional Advancement Chris Galligan, who has been serving as the interim Athletics Director for the past 10 months. "Brian has a genuine passion for how the Athletics Department can connect and engage with the community, and we look forward to his leadership and contributions in our outreach efforts."
Since joining Nevada in 2015 as the Senior Associate Director of Athletics for Intercollegiate Services, Barrio has been a key part of the Nevada senior management team during a run of unprecedented success, including two Mountain West Conference men's basketball championships, a Sweet Sixteen appearance, and the opening of a $3 million, state-of-the-art, men's basketball facility. He has worked closely with donors and been involved in fundraising for various capital improvement and operational campaigns. Barrio served as the sport administrator for the football, men's golf and women's volleyball teams at Nevada.
As a supervisor for the academic support and compliance staffs he created an Academic Risk Assessment process for incoming student-athletes that, in 2017, helped Nevada become one of only two Football Bowl Subdivision schools to post a perfect 1000 Academic Progress Rate score in football and men's basketball in the same year. He also helped develop mentoring programs that contributed to an overall student-athlete population GPA of over 3.0 every semester he was at Nevada.
Barrio also was involved in several areas outside of athletics at Nevada. He was a member of the University's Faculty Senate, the Student Conduct Board, and both the Special Admissions Committee and the Diversity Committee.
"Athletically, the goal is to keep winning Northeast Conference championships and doing so in a way that advances the mission and values of CCSU," Barrio added. "But we are also going to work harder than ever at being an integral part of the fabric of this institution. Bringing athletics into closer alignment with the campus community is a win-win, and that is going to be a significant focus for us."
Prior to his tenure at Nevada, Barrio served as Pepperdine University's Associate Director of Athletics for four years. During his time at Pepperdine, he managed the department's business, compliance, academic, and student-service operations. He was also the sport administrator for the school's nationally ranked baseball, women's soccer, men's volleyball, and men's water polo programs.
Barrio worked in the area of compliance at the America East Conference and the Ivy League and was the Director of Compliance at the University of Southern California. During his three years at the America East, he also served as the Chief of Staff and oversaw day-to-day operations and budget. He also served as the conference representative on the NCAA Legislative Council before moving to Pepperdine.
Barrio earned a bachelor's degree from Boston College in 1999, where he was a team manager for the men's basketball team and an intern in the sports information office. Following internships at Central Connecticut and Ohio State, Barrio went on to earn his Juris Doctorate from the University of California-Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco.
Barrio and his wife, Katie, have three children: Casey, Marcus, and Fiona.
His first day at Central will be Aug. 10, and a welcome event will be held in mid-August.
Follow Barrio on Twitter @CCSU_AD