It marks the end of a 10-year era in which Barnes Arico took over a Red Storm program that was winless in conference play and built it into a team that this season snapped Connecticut's 99-game home winning streak and reached the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time ever.
Kevin Borseth resigned earlier this month at Michigan to return to his former job at Wisconsin-Green Bay. Barnes Arico visited Ann Arbor, Mich., on Wednesday, accepted the job the next day and then informed her team at St. John's in a Friday afternoon meeting.
"It was very emotional," Barnes Arico said. "St. John's has been a special place for me for 10 years, and I'm forever grateful for the opportunity to be their women's basketball coach. The players I have in the program are terrific young ladies. So it was really a tough day for me, and I'm sure it was for them because we're family."
The Red Storm went 24-10 in 2011-12, finished second in the Big East and earned its fourth NCAA berth under Barnes Arico and third in a row. The 41-year-old is the winningest coach in St. John's women's basketball history with a 176-134 record and earned her second Big East Coach of the Year award to go with one in 2006.
Michigan went 20-12 and made the NCAA Tournament this past season.
"The Big Ten and Michigan specifically have great basketball talent, and Michigan is one of the best universities both academically and athletically in the country," Barnes Arico said. "The resources are unbelievable, absolutely incredible. I was blown away by the resources and facility they have. It's an exciting time to be at Michigan, and I think it was the perfect time for me to go."
St. John's athletic director Chris Monasch thanked Barnes Arico in a statement and said associate head coach Joe Tartamella will serve as interim head coach while the school conducts a national search for a replacement.
A native of Mastic Beach, Barnes Arico has spent her entire career in the area, playing at William Floyd High, one year at Stony Brook and three years at Montclair State in New Jersey and later coaching three years at Adelphi. But she's eager for the challenge.
"We want to win championships," Barnes Arico said. "That starts with the Big Ten and maybe on to the national championship."