COLUMBUS, Ohio-  Jackie Barto, the first coach of women's hockey at Ohio State, has decided to retire from coaching after 12 seasons with the Buckeyes and 27 years in the coaching profession, Gene Smith, Ohio State associate vice-president and director of athletics, announced Tuesday.

Barto, a 1984 graduate of Providence University with a degree in business management, was hired at Ohio State in 1999 to start the women's hockey program after spending five seasons as the head coach at her alma mater.

"It has been an incredible opportunity to start the program and see it develop over 12 years," Barto said. "I want to thank (former Ohio State director of athletics) Andy Geiger and Archie Griffin (former Ohio State assistant athletics director and current president of the OSU Alumni Association) for giving me the opportunity."

Barto is currently exploring other career opportunities.

"I have worked with tremendous people and outstanding student-athletes," Barto said of her time in Columbus. "I am proud of what we have accomplished over the last 12 years. I think our program is in a good spot right now. I've enjoyed working with Gene Smith and Chris Schneider (associate AD-sport administration). They have been extremely supportive of both the program and me over the years.

"I have been coaching for 27 years and I've always wondered when I'd know (if it was time to retire)," Barto said. "Today I can honestly say 'I know.'"

Schneider said Barto has left her mark on the program.

"I consider it a privilege to have had the opportunity to work with Coach Barto for the past five seasons," Schneider said. "She is a great coach and an even better person. I thank Jackie for all of her hard work and dedication that she has given to this university and wish her the best in her future."

Ohio State will immediately begin a national search for just its second head coach in the sport of women's hockey.

Barto's Ohio State Highlights

•  Jackie Barto coached more than 500 games in her career and ranked eighth in career victories among NCAA Division I coaches (following 2010-11 season).


•  Barto developed an Olympic gold medalist in Tessa Bonhomme (Canada), a silver medalist in Lisa Chesson (United States) and two-time bronze medalist in Emma Laakonen (Finland). Current Buckeye Minttu Tuominen also played for Team Finland in the Olympics during her freshman season. Current Buckeyes Natalie Spooner (Canada), Tuominen (Finland) and Annie Svedin (Sweden) along with Bonhomme (Canada) are currently completing at the World Championships in Switzerland.


•  The 2006-07 season was a record-setting one for Barto and the Buckeyes. Ohio State reached the 20-win mark for the first time in program history, finishing with a 20-13-4 mark and setting the record for the Buckeyes' longest unbeaten streak at 10 games (9-0-1, Oct. 28-Dec. 8). Ohio State also posted a team-best 30 points in the WCHA standings (13-11-4). The Buckeyes took advantage of home ice with a 12-5-3 record at OSU Ice Rink. After finishing fourth in the league standings, the Buckeyes played host to the WCHA first round playoffs for the first time under the league's new playoff format. OSU swept Minnesota State in the best-of-three series and advanced to the WCHA semifinals at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis against eventual national champion Wisconsin. The Buckeyes completed the season as the 10th-ranked team in both the and USA Hockey national polls.


•  The Buckeyes proved in the 2001-02 season they were a force to be reckoned with on the national scene by defeating several nationally-ranked teams. OSU upset No. 3 New Hampshire and No. 4 St. Lawrence and also tied No. 6 Dartmouth. Barto guided two players to five postseason honors. Jeni Creary was named the WCHA Rookie of the Year and All-WCHA First Team selection after leading the nation in scoring for the first half of the season. Laaksonen earned JOFA/AHCA Second Team All-America accolades and All-WCHA Second Team honors despite missing 10 games while representing her native Finland at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.


•  In just its second season, Barto's young Buckeye squad took center stage at the WCHA championship in March 2001. Fifth-seeded Ohio State bulldozed past No. 4 St. Cloud State and blanked No. 1 Minnesota to advance to the championship final where the Buckeyes fell to eventual national champion Minnesota Duluth. OSU's run for a postseason title was a fitting end to their second-half campaign, which saw them skate to an 18-16-3 overall record, including 11-10-3 in the WCHA, and finish No. 8 in the national polls. Barto guided the program through a difficult first half of the 2000-01 season before engineering an impressive turnaround midway through the year. The Buckeyes were 12-5-1 in their last 18 contests and finished 7-1-0 at home after the December hiatus, with their only loss at the OSU Ice Rink coming against nationally-ranked Minnesota. They rode a six-game winning streak, including five shutouts, into their championship game against Minnesota Duluth.