UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang announced Tuesday that Kelly Barsky will be the next director of athletics after serving in the role on an interim basis. Barsky brings with her a wealth of experience and will be the first woman in UCSB Athletics history to be named to this role.
“I am pleased to announce the appointment of Kelly Barsky as our next director of intercollegiate athletics,” Chancellor Yang said. “Kelly brings a wealth of experience as a coach, academic adviser and athletics administrator, and I am confident that she will continue to be an exceptional leader for our campus and our athletics program. Since she assumed the interim role, our athletics programs have continued to thrive, our student-athletes are excelling in the classroom and in their respective sports, and our campus and community are energized about our future.
“We have all been impressed by her knowledge, her energy and enthusiasm, and her deep commitment to supporting our coaches and student-athletes in reaching their academic and athletics goals. Kelly is a trusted and proven leader for UC Santa Barbara, and I look forward to working with her as our next director of athletics.”
“I am honored and excited to serve as the next director of athletics at UC Santa Barbara,” Barsky said. “I would like to extend a very special thank you to Chancellor Yang and our campus leadership for this opportunity and to the incredible coaches, staff, student-athletes and community for their support. Aligned with our campus mission, I look forward to working collaboratively to provide exceptional experiences for student-athletes and our Gaucho community.”
Before becoming the interim director of athletics in January 2022, Barsky served as the deputy athletic director and senior woman administrator for the Gauchos. She provided strategic leadership to the department and oversaw all internal operations while building strong campus and community collaborations to support student-athlete experience and well-being. She has also made her impact on the national stage as Barsky is The Big West’s liaison for the NCAA Division I Council and is a member of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee.
Having spent over a decade at UCSB, Barsky held other positions on campus before making her way to the director of athletics chair. She originally joined the Gauchos as a women’s basketball coach before transitioning to an academic adviser role in the College of Letters and Science, Division of Undergraduate Education.
She began her work in college athletics as a graduate assistant with the University of New Hampshire’s men’s and women’s basketball programs. An educator at heart, this role helped her discover a passion for serving and supporting student-athletes through their collegiate journey. She previously spent several years as an elementary school teacher. Once her graduate studies ended, she was hired on and coached for two additional seasons at the University of New Hampshire before making the move to St. Francis College in Brooklyn, New York, where she spent four seasons before arriving in Santa Barbara.
The Alton, New Hampshire native and Hall of Famer at Coe-Brown Northwood Academy was a collegiate student athlete at Keene State College, ranking second all-time in assists. She is a service-oriented person, and it shows through being an avid member of many committees throughout her career not only for the NCAA, but in her community. As mentioned above, she serves as The Big West’s liaison for the NCAA Division I Council and the NCAA Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee. Prior to that, she was the NCAA Women’s Water Polo Committee Chair and served as a commissioner and chair of the Parks and Recreation Committee for the city of Goleta.
Kristen Keller is the associate athletic director for communications and digital strategy at UCSB.