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UK President Announces New Athletics Director

By Mary Margaret Colliver

Photo of Mitch Barnhart accepting a UK cap from President Lee Todd
Mitch Barnhart accepts a UK cap from President Lee Todd.

Photo of Mitch Barnhart  addressing news media
Mitch Barnhart addresses news media at a press conference announcing his becoming UK's athletics director.

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"Mitch Barnhart brings to the University of Kentucky a proven record of success, in addition to experience. He has deep passion for working with students, and his philosophies are very much in sync with mine on how to run this program. I believe he has a well thought-out vision on how to move our athletics department forward."

-- Lee T. Todd Jr.,
president,
University of Kentucky

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Photo of Mitch Barnhart
Mitch Barnhart

Click here
for a bio
of Mitch Barnhart

To read the UK Athletics profile
of Mitch Barnhart, click here.



For streaming video
of today's UK Athletic Association board meeting,
click here.

For streaming video of the first half of today's announcement, click here.

For streaming video of the second half of today's announcement,
click here.


July 15, 2002 (Lexington, Ky.) -- University of Kentucky President Lee T. Todd Jr. today announced at a news conference that Mitch Barnhart has been named UK's new athletics director.

"The process of selecting an athletics director was difficult," said Todd. "There was a long list of candidates, and after criteria were evaluated, we narrowed the list down to seven. I spent considerable time with most of those candidates and all of the finalists before they met with the search advisory group. All the candidates were outstanding, and the three finalists were very impressive. Mitch Barnhart brings to the University of Kentucky a proven record of success, in addition to experience. He has deep passion for working with students, and his philosophies are very much in sync with mine on how to run this program. I believe he has a well thought-out vision on how to move our athletics department forward."

Prior to the announcement, UK's Athletic Association Board of Directors and the UK Board of Trustees' Executive Committee voted to approve Todd's recommendation to appoint Barnhart.

Barnhart, 42, is a native of Kansas City, Kan. He received his bachelor of arts degree from Ottawa University (Kansas) in 1981, and a master of science degree in sports administration from Ohio University in 1982.

Prior to his UK appointment, he served as director of athletics at Oregon State University (Corvallis) since 1998.

Highlights during his term at Oregon State include:

-- Reduced an inherited operating debt from $12.5 million to $4.8 million in four years, which is on schedule for elimination;

-- Produced a balanced budget in each year of his term; raised $20 million in capital contributions for new baseball and softball stadiums, indoor practice center and basketball arena renovation;

-- Developed Beaver Sports Properties; increased annual fund raising from $800,000 to $4.5 million in FY 2001;

-- Produced record football sales from 6,000 season tickets to 23,000, which were sold out in nine consecutive games; hired five head coaches; and

-- Guided the athletics department to the highest finish in school history in National Sears Cup standings - 48th with only 14 sports.

Under Barnhart's leadership, Oregon State had the highest GPA for student-athletes since tracking began in 1992, which included 2.91 GPA for 520 student-athletes and 3.0 or better for 173 student-athletes.

While at Oregon State, Barnhart served on several sports and working committees of the Pac-10 Conference, NCAA and NACDA, and completed the second-cycle of NCAA certification in February 2001.

Barnhart was at the University of Tennessee from 1986-1998, serving the last four years as senior associate athletic director.

While at Tennessee, he assisted the athletic director in all aspects of administering a $35 million budget and in hiring UT's head coaches. Barnhart was directly responsible for roughly one third of the annual revenue base of $12 million in the athletic department, with administrative oversight of baseball, indoor/outdoor track, cross-country and swimming programs.

In addition, he created the Volunteer Athletic Scholarship Fund, which is responsible for over $53 million in annual cash gifts since 1986, including $8 million in 1996-1997. Barnhart was responsible for capital funding to support facility improvement projects for over $75 million in 1986, expanded membership in the donor fund from 2,200 members to 9,500 with an average gift increase from $250 to $950.

Before his term at UT, Barnhart served as assistant executive director of the Mustang Club at Southern Methodist University (Dallas) from 1983 to 1986; regional director for the Duck Athletic Fund at University of Oregon (Eugene) in 1983; and was an intern for the Aztec Athletic Foundation at San Diego State University in 1982-1983.

Barnhart and his wife, the former Connie Brown, have three children, Kirby, 14, Blaire, 11, and Scott, 8.


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