Geodatabase is referencing old coverages
You may want to elaborate on your problem. A Geodatabase can not reference a coverage, it is a container of feature classes, tables, relationship classes, etc.
I agree with Joe.
Maybe the layers in the map document (*.mxd) is referencing to the old coverages. You can change/repair the data-source of the layers.
Please refer Repairing Broken Data Links
The problem is the geodatabase is referencing old feature classes not sure how this is even possible.
Files are on a remote server and Mis dept. does backups
...geodatabase is referencing old feature classes not sure how this is even possible...
I'm not sure how it is possible either, as a geodatase does not reference feature classes, it acts as a receptacle for them. What type of geodatabase are you using? What vintage feature classes does it contain? What vintage feature classes should it contain? How do you know they are 'old'? What is your method of maintaining or updating the feature classes?
Could you explain with screenshots?
Retrieving data ...