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AD Bari to step down and return to alma mater

By Jesse Robinson
Franco Bari announced his resignation as the Director of Athletics at The College of St. Scholastica on Tuesday effective at the end of the month to return to his alma mater St. Lawrence University (N.Y.).

Bari was hired as St. Scholastica’s Director of Athletics in August 2019 after coming over from St. Lawrence where he was the Assistant Director of Athletics since 2012.

“It’s been a privilege to serve an athletic department committed to the success of our student-athletes in sport and in life,” said Bari. “The coaches, administrative staff and student-athletes have been incredibly resilient, especially throughout the pandemic, while still maintaining high standards in the classroom, in sport and beyond. I am very grateful for their contributions and successful outcomes. I would also like to express my sincere appreciation and gratitude to President McDonald and Steve Lyons for their continued support and strong commitment to athletics. I truly believe that The College of St. Scholastica and CSS Athletics will continue to grow and flourish under their leadership.”

During his tenure at St. Scholastica, Bari faced the abrupt end to his first year at the helm in 2019-20 due to the COVID-19 pandemic that canceled the St. Scholastica spring sport season in March. He then guided the athletic department and assisted in the institution in getting CSS athletics back up and running in January of this year.

The 2021 spring semester saw 19 of St. Scholastica’s 22 intercollegiate teams compete with the Saints capturing nine conference regular season or tournament championships. In both shortened athletic years under Bari, the Saints captured back-to-back Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) Jerome Kruse All-Sports Trophies in 2020 and 2021 and a record number 418 student-athletes earned Academic All-Conference honors. Bari also oversaw the assessment of switching conference affiliations for the first time since the mid-1990s as St. Scholastica will join the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) this fall.

“My appreciation for the opportunity to serve CSS cannot be expressed enough and I am thankful for those who have supported our efforts,” said Bari. “To our supporters, alumni and donors, your investment in the student-athlete experience has provided Saints Athletics with enhanced experiences and new opportunities. The CSS Community has been incredible and I will be forever grateful for the long lasting relationships built here at St. Scholastica.”

Off the field, Bari spearheaded the Student-Athlete Development Program to enhance the holistic student-athlete experience at The College of St. Scholastica. The athletic department also became just the third Minnesota institution to be accepted into the Chi Alpha Sigma Honor Society. CSS Athletics welcomed its first class in April with 59 student-athletes inducted.

“We are grateful for Franco’s leadership and poise these past two years,” said Vice President of Student Affairs Steve Lyons. “Our athletics department experienced an unprecedented year of tumult, but persevered thanks to his tremendous leadership. We wish him all the best as he returns to his alma mater.”

A search to find Bari’s replacement will begin immediately.

Published in Breaking Sports

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