Mary Barrett was considered one of the top female athletic administrators in the nation, serving as UMass Boston's Associate Director of Athletics for 17 years. Prior to her arrival at the Harbor Campus, she began her career as an Assistant Professor in the education department from 1967-74 at Boston State College. In 1974, she became the school's Assistant Athletic Director and later Associate Athletic Director until finally assuming the duties of Director of Athletics in 1978, prior to Boston State's merger with UMass Boston in 1982. During her time in collegiate athletics she became a trailblazer for female administrators, becoming the first woman to be named to the Board of Directors of the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame, the first woman to be named President of the nation's largest athletic conference, the Eastern College Athletic Conference from 1985-86 and the first female to chair the ECAC East Hockey Tournament Committee. Her highest achievement came in 1992 when she was elected to a five-year term on the NCAA Executive Committee and was the sole representative from Division III on the committee, which serves as the NCAA's governing body. Prior to her ascension to that post, she served on the NCAA Council from 1986-90 and also held positions on a number of other NCAA committees. The Malden native was a member of various ECAC committees during her time as well.