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Jun. 22—Hired in August 2019, St. Scholastica athletic director Franco Bari is resigning after just two seasons with the Saints to return to New York and his alma mater, St. Lawrence University.

Bari helped guide the Saints through the COVID-19 pandemic that struck during the end of his first season in March 2020 and continued throughout the 2020-21 season.

“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,” Bari said in a statement. “I am very grateful for their contributions and successful outcomes.”

Bari also oversaw the Saints’ admission into the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) in May 2020 after St. Thomas was ousted from the league.

The 2020-21 season was the Saints’ final year in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference, and now a new athletic director will have to step in and guide the Saints when they step up to the more-challenging MIAC in 2021-22.

“My appreciation for the opportunity to serve CSS cannot be expressed enough and I am thankful for those who have supported our efforts,” Bari said. “The CSS community has been incredible and I will be forever grateful for the long-lasting relationships built here at St. Scholastica.”

Bari began working at St. Lawrence in 2008 and was named assistant athletic director there in 2012. His wife, Mare MacDougall Bari, is still an assistant coach for the St. Lawrence women’s hockey team.

Brian Jamros served as the Saints’ athletic director prior to Bari, but resigned in April 2019 after just two seasons. Jamros, a native of Moose Lake, was hired in June 2017 to replace Don Olson, who retired in 2017 after nine seasons.

According to the announcement, a search will begin immediately for the Saints’ next athletic director.

“We are grateful for Franco’s leadership and poise these past two years,” said Steve Lyons, the CSS vice president of student affairs. “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.”