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Barnhart: I have not been contacted by Kansas

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Thumbnail image for Barnhart_Mitch 2x3.jpgContrary to a report by national sports blog, Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said he has not been formally contacted by the University of Kansas about the athletics director position.

Barnhart released a statement Monday, a day after reported that Barnhart, who has served as the athletics director at UK since 2002, is being targeted as a finalist for the Kansas AD job and would interview for the job in early December.

"Being a Kansas native with family in the area, having gone to Ottawa University in Kansas and my wife, Connie being a Kansas alum, I have many ties to the state," Barnhart said. "We have received calls from friends and supporters of the university about the athletic director position at Kansas. I have not been formally contacted by the University of Kansas.  I am 100 percent focused on UK Athletics."

The report said Barnhart was one of three finalists targeted by the six-member Kansas AD search panel. The Kansas athletics director position was recently vacated by the retirement of Lew Perkins.

Despite ties to Kansas, which includes a bachelor's degree from Ottawa University in Kansas, the Kansas City, Kan., native said he is focused on improving the facilities at Kentucky.

"We have made progress in many areas over the last eight years, but we need to provide our coaches and student-athletes with the facilities to compete at the highest level," Barnhart said. "We have initiated the process of building a new track and are now focused on how we can upgrade Commonwealth Stadium and our football facilities. Our 22 sports receive unbelievable support from the Big Blue Nation and our fans deserve championship level success across the board."

The Kansas City Star reported Monday that no finalists for the Kansas job have been identified, according to chairman of the search committee Ray Evans. The Star, using a source with knowledge of KU's search, said Barnhart is not "likely to land" the Kansas job.

Barnhart is in his ninth year as the athletics director at Kentucky. 

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