(MIAMI, FL) — Athletic Director Mike Covone announces his retirement from Barry University this week after leading Buccaneer athletics to 26 NCAA Division II national championships in eight different sports. Covone has been one of the most respected leaders in college athletics, who helped build high-quality athletic programs in men’s and women’s sports that win consistently at the highest levels and produce student athletes who graduate and excel in the classroom and community.
"Mike Covone is an exceptional leader, who has dedicated his life to helping student athletes achieve their full potential on and off the field," Barry University President Mike Allen said. "We are deeply grateful for his service and commitment to Barry athletics, and his legacy will endure for generations of student athletes to come."
Covone, who was promoted to athletic director in 1998, will officially retire from Barry on June 30.
"What we have accomplished at Barry is amazing!,” said Covone. "A heartfelt thank you to the Adrian Dominican Sisters, Board of Trustees, University administration, outstanding faculty, athletic alumni, current student athletes, all of our great coaches and staff, along with the families and friends for their unwavering commitment and support over the years! I have been blessed to hire and work closely with so many great people! I must also thank all of the wonderful people who work at Barry in so many areas, and what they have done to help our students."
In addition to the national championships, Covone’s tenure also included 18 national runner-up finishes, 100 Sunshine State Conference championships and 423 NCAA All-Americans. He served on the NCAA Division II Management Council and as chair of the D-II Championships Committee when the division inaugurated the championships festivals, the Olympic-style events in which a number of national championships are held at a single site over several days. He was honored twice as National Association of Directors of Athletics (NACDA) NCAA Division II Athletic Director of the Year award in 2004-05 and 2014-15, and inducted into the SSC Hall of Fame in 1997.
"Mike Covone has been a thoughtful, influential leader in the Sunshine State Conference for over three decades," SSC commissioner Ed Pasque said. "His integrity, character and commitment to excellence have made a lasting impact on the conference, and he will be missed. I wish him well in retirement, and will forever appreciate his friendship and all he has done to make the Sunshine State Conference what it is today."
Under Covone's leadership, the Bucs have received the NCAA President's Award for an Academic Success Rate (graduation rate) of over 90 percent nine years in a row, and in Fall 2022, 49 student-athletes earned a 4.0 GPA, including 27 students on the President's List. Student athletes overall have maintained a cumulative GPA above 3.0 for over 20 years. The Bucs have featured 10 NCAA Woman of the Year finalists, nine NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship recipients, six NCAA Academic Elite Award winners and 591 scholar All-Americans.
Covone is the third AD in Buccaneer history and followed directly in the footsteps of Dr. G Jean Cerra, a Hall of Fame inductee by the NACDA, the Sunshine State Conference and Barry’s own Wall of Honor.
"Mike Covone and Barry University are almost synonymous," Cerra said. "He has gone from winning national championships as a coach to leading the coaches and staff in the department to an extraordinary number of national championships in a majority of the various sports offered. Most important of all, he has done so while upholding the mission of the department to achieve high academic standards while pursuing national competitive excellence. I predict that Mike’s legacy at Barry and the positive impact he has made on its phenomenal success both academically and athletically will remain unmatched in its history."
Barry University Athletics have grown from a 10-sport program when he took over as athletic director to 18 varsity intercollegiate athletic programs. Covone facilitated the launch of the eSports program, JV Baseball program, Club basketball, and the additional of five new sports in Fall 2023 (M&W Cross Country, M&W Swimming, and Beach Volleyball), a new athletics website – GoBarryBucs.com, independent social media channels for every sport, and internet video broadcasts of home athletic events with live statistics. He formalized corporate sponsorship agreements with major brands such as Coca-Cola and Nike. Covone also substantially increased financial support for athletics with the creation of endowed and current-use scholarships that help Barry student athletes complete their education.
Covone contributed to the South Florida community by serving on the prestigious Orange Bowl Committee and is involved in various sports organizations in South Florida. He was involved in the South Florida Olympic Soccer Committee and was instrumental in Barry serving as a 2026 World Cup practice site. Barry is renowned worldwide for hosting national soccer teams, many World Cup teams, and professional club teams from all over the world.
"Mike Covone has been an invaluable Orange Bowl Committee member since 2000," Eric Poms, CEO of the Orange Bowl. "Under Mike’s leadership in athletics for 25 years, Barry University has built and maintained some of the finest athletic facilities in South Florida."
A native of Hialeah, Fla., Covone was a standout-athlete who earned two All-America awards in soccer and coached Barry’s women’s soccer team to six consecutive final fours, and three NCAA women’s soccer National Championships.
"Mike has been a vital part of the Barry community for many years, and we will miss his passion and dedication to our student-athletes," Allen said. "We wish him all the best in his well-deserved retirement from Barry and in his future endeavors."
About Barry University: As South Florida’s largest private Catholic institution of higher learning and as one of the leading universities in the nation for promoting social mobility, Barry University is preparing students for the future workforce by offering them more than 100 degree
programs in a variety of disciplines and giving them the tools and real-world experience that transform concepts into impact. Barry's programs center on experiential and service learning, responding to market conditions and addressing critical societal needs. Barry graduates are socially conscious leaders in many industries and in their communities
Learn more at barry.edu