Mercyhurst College has promoted Craig Barnett to be the school’s new athletic director effective August 31. Barnett replaces long-time Athletic Director Pete Russo, who announced his retirement on June 22 and will leave the position on August 31.
“We are very pleased that Craig has agreed to lead the athletic department at Mercyhurst,” said Mercyhurst president Dr. Thomas Gamble. “He brings a love of the institution and a genuine commitment to the overall welfare of student-athletes. We expect great things with Craig at the helm.”
Barnett spent two years at Mercyhurst from 1991-93 and returned as the school’s associate director of athletics on Dec. 5, 2006. He then became the acting director of athletics when Russo announced his retirement. During his first stint at the school, he was an assistant men’s hockey coach and the Mercyhurst Ice Center director.
After spending two years at Mercyhurst, he moved on to Kent State, where he assisted the men’s hockey team and received his master’s degree in sports administration. He then took over the hockey program at Findlay in 1995, moving the program from club status to NCAA Division III and eventually to NCAA Division I during his eight years at the helm. Barnett then decided to look for experience in athletic administration and moved to a preparatory school, Lake Forest Academy in Lake Forest, Ill. in 2002. That job was a springboard to his next position, director of athletics and men’s hockey coach at Becker College, an NCAA Division III school in Worcester, Mass.
Barnett was a goaltender at Plattsburgh, completing his collegiate hockey career in 1989. He then played two years of hockey in the New York Rangers organization before his first job at Mercyhurst.
A native of Oakville, Ontario, Barnett received his bachelor’s degree in marketing from Plattsburgh in 1989. He has a wife, Andrea, and the couple has three children — Olivia, Braeden, and Jace.