Despite missing the NCAA Tournament for a second consecutive season, Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart is sticking behind Gary Henderson and moving forward with him as the head coach for the 2012 season, according to a report by Brett Dawson of Cats Illustrated.
Barnhart, speaking with Dawson in an extensive Q and A, said that while 2011 was a disappointing season, Henderson will return next year for his fourth season.
BD: And you're confident you're moving forward with Gary Henderson as your coach?
MB: Yeah. We're going to go get after it and make some adjustments. The draft is a huge part of baseball, and that's been damaging to us. There's some squads that have more bodies on their 11.7 (scholarships) than we do, in terms of guys that can play in this league, and the draft is not quite as damaging to them. For us it's been pretty devastating. The last couple years we've really taken some hits. Hopefully we'll be able to get past that. We had a young man that we signed, Blake Perry, last year. Big right-hander, and we thought he was going to be (with us) and he went and signed (with the Arizona Diamondbacks). The last couple years, we've had some things that really impacted us on the mound. We've got to find some help in that area.
Barnhart told Dawson that he and Henderson have met about some adjustments that can be made and what they need to do to compete for another Southeastern Conference title. Among those suggestions were getting back to being a blue-collar team with a lot of energy.
Dawson covers a lot of topics with Barnhart in the Q and A, including Barnhart's recent trip to Ethiopia, department-wide success, John Calipari's contract and more. Because it's a Cats Illustrated exclusive, you'll have to read the full Q and A over at the Rivals website.
Part one covers the trip to Ethiopia, part two features Henderson and Calipari, part three touches on the new video boards at Commonwealth Stadium, and part four covers facilities and the Academic Progress rate, among many things.