Interview with Ceal Barry, February 19, 2021
Project: University of Kentucky Athletics: Women's Basketball Oral History Project
Interview SummaryThis is an interview conducted on February 19, 2021 with Ceal Barry, UK former women's basketball player and Hall of Fame coach. At UK from 1973-1977.
Barry talks about her family's interest in sports during her childhood. She talks about playing various sports with her siblings and her father's support of her playing with the boys. Barry discusses how organized sports for girls were more likely to occur at Cathloic schools than public schools prior to Title IX, which led to many of the college athletes at the time being recruited from Catholic schools. Barry talks about how Laura Schwager influenced her decision to go to UK for college. Barry talks about how her older sister who also attended UK became her support system and guided her through the college environment. She talks about her relationship with Sue Feamster. Barry talks about the lack of facilities for women's sports at the time. She talks about part of her job being to prepare the station wagons for their away games. She talks about women's basketball players being required to pay for their own hotel rooms and meals on the road due to lack of funding. Barry talks about the players brought in as part of the 1973-1974 season recruiting class. Barry talks about the 1974-1975 season, which was the first women's varsity team at UK since it had been banned in 1924. Barry talks about the 1975-1976 season and the first women's athletic scholarships. Barry talks about Nareen White, the first African American women's basketball player at UK. Barry talks about fellow teammate Pam Browning. She talks about the impact of the 1976 Olympics being the first time women's basketball was included. She talks about the change in mentality that occurred due to the introduction of Title IX. Barry talks about the hiring of the first full-time women's basketball coach, Debbie Yow.
Barry talks about the UK women's basketball team's 1976-1977 season, including their win over number two-ranked Tennessee Tech as well as the 1976-1977 season Christmas tournament. She talks about Coach Debbie Yow's expectations and how the culture of the team changed when they transitioned from a club sport to a varsity sport. She talks about her family's awareness of her basketball career, Sue Feamster's influence, and the Kentucky Women's Intercollegiate Conference (KWIC).
Barry talks about beginning at University of Cincinnati as a graduate assistant and eventually working her way up to head coach of the women's basketball team. She then talks about how she came to be the head coach of women's basketball at the University of Colorado Boulder. Barry talks about interviewing for the women's basketball coaching position at the University of Kentucky in 1987. She talks about societal attitudes about women in sports and women in positions of leadership. She talks about how the merging of men's and women's athletics departments led to fewer women in leadership positions and more men making decisions for women's sports. She talks about the trend of men becoming coaches of women's basketball teams and the myths perpetuated by both men and women that men are stronger coaches.
Barry talks about her role as an assistant coach for the 1996 U.S. Olympic women's basketball team. She talks about the rift forming at the time over the two burgeoning women's professional basketball leagues, the American Basketball League (ABL) and the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA).
Barry talks about why she decided to transition from coaching to administration. She talks about becoming the Senior Women's Administrator, and what she sees as the responsibilities of the job. She talks about her interest in social justice and about being an advocate for student athletes who may face discrimination due to race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, gender, and more. Barry and interviewer Valerie Still discuss the prevalence of homophobia in women's basketball.
Interview Keyword1973-1977 (Years at University of Kentucky) Sue Feamster Title IX Assumption High School Louisville (Ky.) Laura Schawager Private Catholic schools Debbie Yow Memorial Coliseum Nareen White Pam Browning Scholarships Athletic scholarships Olympic tryouts Lady Kats Sex discrimination Gender discrimination Gender Equity in athletics Equality of opportunity Equality Equal treatment standards 1996 Olympics USA 1996 Women's Basketball Olympic Team Women's Basketball Hall of Fame University of Cincinnati University of Colorado Boulder Homophobia Discrimination Sexism Racism Kentucky Women's Intercollegiate Conference (KWIC) Statistics Leadership positions Power structures Diversity Advocacy Social justice
Interview LC SubjectBasketball Basketball coaches--Kentucky Basketball players Basketball players--Kentucky Basketball teams Basketball--Coaching Coaches (Athletics) Coaching (Athletics) College athletes College athletes--Recruiting College sports--Kentucky College sports. Discrimination in sports Sexism. Universities and colleges--Finance University of Kentucky University of Kentucky--Basketball Women basketball players Women in higher education. Women--Education (Higher) College administrators Universities and colleges--Administration.
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Interview UsageInterviews may only be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Interviews may only be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.
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Barry, Ceal Interview by Valerie R. Still. 19 Feb. 2021. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Barry, C. (2021, February 19). Interview by V. R. Still. University of Kentucky Athletics: Women's Basketball Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.
Barry, Ceal, interview by Valerie R. Still. February 19, 2021, University of Kentucky Athletics: Women's Basketball Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
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