Sun Devil Club: Enhance, Engage, Educate

Donor Spotlight: Deb & Jim Barrett

Jim and Deb have been longtime supporters of Sun Devil Athletics and the Sun Devil Women’s Basketball program. Their support has assisted in many areas including student-athlete scholarships and team community outreach. Through Deb’s active leadership and donations to the team’s Youth Experience initiative, the women’s basketball program was able to provide tickets and access for community youth to attend home basketball games in Desert Financial Arena last season. Jim also recently established a scholarship which will provide academic support for a women’s basketball player.  We caught up with the couple and asked them a few questions about why they chose to support Sun Devil Athletics:

Spotlight-Deb Barrett

“Deb’s support has not only made a difference in our student-athletes’ lives, but also a difference in lives within our greater community. It is obvious Deb’s passion is philanthropic initiatives that provide experiences to youth that will allow them to ‘dream big’. This, along with her dedication to Sun Devil Women’s Basketball, makes her a very special friend to our program.”

-Ryan Cohan

Director of Women’s Basketball Operations

What motivated you to help support the women’s basketball teams’ goal and continue to provide youth access to attending games? I was inspired from a conversation with members of the Sun Devil Club and women’s basketball staff to help fill the stands inside the arena for basketball games. This is where the inspiration to unite with CASA for Kids was recognized. What better way to inspire student-athletes than to have more people in the stands cheering them on? While in turn, bringing a group of kids who could be inspired by the team and Arizona State University, brings it all together.  

What is your vision for supporting initiatives which help send youth to athletic events? The vision is to allow kids greater access to an event where they see first-hand positive role model student-athletes, coaches, and a group working together. I hope this will inspire them with structured goals. Seeing just how much is possible with a team environment. 

Spotlight- Jim Barrett

What does it mean to you to be a Sun Devil and be a part of the Sun Devil Family (or women’s basketball family)?  When I attended ASU, it was an era when football was preeminent under the leadership of legendary head coach Frank Kush. However, it is now through another winning ASU Coach, Charli Turner Thorne, and her women’s basketball team that has reinvigorated me as a Sun Devil. Having a daughter myself, it was welcoming to see how Charli has built a legacy and along the way so passionately supports the personal and professional growth of young women.  

Why do you think it is important to support student-athletes and Sun Devil Athletics? It energized me to see the women’s basketball student-athletes ranked in the top 5 for cumulative team GPA. Charli and her support staff are doing things the right way. They are not just about getting competitive athletes on the court, but understand it is about the complete student-athlete.  

What motivated you to help support the women’s basketball team through an endowed scholarship? It was a very rewarding experience for me in the 80’s when I had the opportunity to support a student through a scholarship in his pursuit of a degree in the business school. The Sun Devil Club staff really took the time to nurture, and guide me through leaving a scholarship to recognize an individual and leave a scholarship in a family’s member’s name. 

The Sun Devil Club would like to thank Jim & Deb for their continued support of Sun Devil Athletics. For more information on ways to get involved with the Sun Devil Club, please contact us by email at or by phone at (480) 727-7700.


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