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Mitch Barnhart Named UK Athletics Director
After Four Years in Oregon State Post

By Brad Duncan

Mitch Barnhart

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"A program of this nature has to have someone with experience in collegiate athletics and someone who knows the best practices, the industry and its people. I selected who I think is the best person."

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

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To see streaming video
of the first part of the news conference, click here.

To see streaming video of the second part of the news conference, click here.

To read the announcement news release, click here.

To read biographical information about Mitch Barnhart, click here.

July 15, 2002 (Lexington, Ky.) -- "I think this is one of the top jobs in the country and I will work tirelessly day and night with great energy and enthusiasm to make this program something you can be extremely proud of. There is no reason it cannot be everything you want it to be."

With that, Mitch Barnhart introduced himself as the new athletics director at the University of Kentucky after a four-month search.

After UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. provided his official recommendation of Barnhart's hire, the UK Athletic Association Board of Directors voted 11-1 to accept the appointment, which was then unanimously approved by the UK Board of Trustees' Executive Committee making the action official.

Barnhart, who has held the post of athletics director at Oregon State University since 1998, becomes the first athletics director since Chet Wynn in 1934 who has not had UK ties as a player, coach or staff member.

In selecting Barnhart, Todd addressed a number of key factors in his decision, including Barnhart's success as a fund raiser, his leadership in the success of the OSU teams on the field and in the classroom, and his ability to balance the OSU athletic budget.

"A program of this nature has to have someone with experience in collegiate athletics and someone who knows the best practices, the industry and its people," Todd said. "I selected who I think is the best person."

"He has a deep passion for the job he has," Todd continued, "and his ideas for running this program are in line with mine." In accepting his post, Barnhart outlined a five-principle philosophy for success that he expects the university and its Athletic Association to follow.

In everything UKAA, its staff, its coaches and its players do, they must maintain the following: - First class - Great integrity - A great student-athlete experience - Sound fiscal management, and - Compete for championships in all sports.

"The administration and staff are here for the student-athletes and coaches," Barnhart said. "We will work hard and challenge the coaches to provide the best experience on the field for the student-athletes while we prepare them for their lives off the field."

With his first athletics director job at OSU, Barnhart had tremendous success. He reduced an inherited operating debt from $12.5 million to $4.8 million in four years, a debt which is on schedule for elimination. He produced a balanced budget in each year of his term. He raised $20 million in capital contributions for new baseball and softball stadiums, indoor practice center and basketball arena renovation.

He also produced record football sales from 6,000 season tickets to 23,000, while guiding the athletics department to the highest finish in school history in the Sears Cup standings - 48th with only 14 sports.

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

Before arriving at OSU, Barnhart, who received his bachelor of arts degree from Ottawa University in Kansas and his master of science in sports administration from Ohio University, was at the University of Tennessee from 1986-1998, serving the last four years as senior associate athletics director.

He also spent time as assistant executive director of the Mustang Club at Southern Methodist University and regional director for the Duck Athletic Fund at the University of Oregon.

Athletics Directors at the University of Kentucky 1910, 1914 - E.R. Sweetland
1912, 13, 15 - John J. Tigert
1916-34 - Stanley A. "Daddy" Boles
1934-37 - Chet Wynn
1938-67 - Bernie Shively
1968-75 (Dec.) - Harry Lancaster
1975-89 Cliff Hagan
1989-2000 - C.M. Newton
2000-02 - Larry Ivy
2002 - Mitch Barnhart

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