blufevr4evr : Mitch is there any chance of you setting up a fulltime office in Louisville one of the states biggest fan areas..... Mitch Barnhart :
That is something we have talked about and I have done at other schools in a similar fashion. Hopefully in the next few years we will be able to make it a reality.
Paula Johnson : How is the men's golf team looking for fall play. Do you anticipate a good fall season based on summer play?
Mitch Barnhart : Our men's golf program has grown under Brian Craig's direction and I don't see that changing any time soon. He has done a great job of using his scholarships wisely and his recruiting continues to go very well. We look forward to many more memorable moments with the men's program. I would also like to take a quick moment and congratulate J.B. Holmes for carrying the banner of the University of Kentucky everywhere he goes. He is a tremendous ambassador for UK. I also think our women's program is gaining ground in a very difficult league. Stephanie Barker has got several newcomers and returns a solid group which got better last season. We must continue to try and improve within the league if we want to make strides towards national prominence.
Steve Beach : Selling the uk mens basketball program has to be the easiest product to sell. Do you think we need to get more media exposure for the program? Have we thought it would sell itself? and if so how do we plan on doing it? Go Cats!
Mitch Barnhart : Steve, UK basketball is an incredible brand. It is an icon unlike any other. It is important as we recruit nationally and compete nationally that we have a national presence. There are several well-known avenues to, on a steady basis, garner that type of national exposure for our program, without it taking away from the things we want to do competitively.
J.P. : I am very excited about the upcoming football season but would like to ask a baseball question. Do you have a time frame for building a new baseball stadium off Alumni Drive? I think that would really elevate the baseball program and take it to the next level. Coach Cohen has done a great job and deserves a stadium that is in line with the rest of the SEC.
Mitch Barnhart : Coach Cohen has done a tremendous job of putting Kentucky baseball on the map. We have all travelled the SEC and know there are things we must do from a facility perspective which will enable him to achieve the goal of going to Omaha and winning a national championship. We are in the middle of that research but realize the importance and time frame necessary to get it done. Thanks for your support of Wildcat baseball.
Chris : Why did no one from UKAA not speak in defense of Coach Smith when the "Concerned Fans" article was made public?
Mitch Barnhart : We responded to media inquiries in support of Coach Smith following that situation. Some things warrant a more proactive response. That instance, in my opinion, did not. I have been publicly supportive of Tubby Smith since I came to Kentucky and that hasn't changed. Every opportunity I have had, I have acknowledged not only his tremendous personal leadership, but also his outstanding success as a basketball coach.
Jeff Harrison : With the recent successes of our lesser known teams are there any plans for the future to add any sports in which we do not currently compete and would doing so improve our standings in the Director's Cup?
Mitch Barnhart : Having just complete the second phase of NCAA certification, we have examined the possibility and cost of adding an additional women's sport at Kentucky. That study is ongoing and its results would not allow us to add anything new for at least a couple of years. There would be some sports that would have an immediate impact on our ability to move up in the Director's Cup standings.
Jan Kuhn, Erlanger, Ky : I am a HUGE Wildcat basketball fan living in Northern,Ky. I was WONDERING if you forsee U.K trying to play a game in my area in the near future? I understand U.K FAILED to work out a deal in Cincy instead Louisville will play Dayton in Cincy.
Mitch Barnhart : We have played games in Cincinnati over the years and are open to returning in the future. Kentucky basketball is immensely popular nationwide and it is important that we acknowledge our fanbase in a variety of geographic areas.
: expectations for the volleyball team this year? What are some things being done to help promote the sport throughout the community?
Mitch Barnhart : We are certainly pleased with the tremendous progress of Craig Skinner and his staff as they build our program at Kentucky. The new facility will have a significant impact on their competitive, practice and preparation going forward. We have met operationally and marketing-wise to continue to grow fan attendance and visibility in our community. High school volleyball in our state is getting better and the interest in watching big time college volleyball is growing. I see a lot of fun times ahead for Wildcat volleyball.
Maria : Hello Mr. Barnhart. Concerning the recent myspace violations, is there a way to find out if all the posters are indeed UK fans and not rival fans trying to get our university in trouble? Thanks, and GO BIG BLUE!
Mitch Barnhart : Those who truly are Big Blue fans have the University's best interest at heart and will abstain from anything that would harm the University. It is very difficult to police the Internet and I would like to think we have got more important student-athlete related issues to respond to. Having said that, should we determine that fans from opposing schools are posting in a manner to hurt the University of Kentucky, we will certainly take the appropriate action through the NCAA.
Eric Walker : The University of Kentucky, to my knowledge, has played just about every notable state university men's basketball program (i.e. Morehead, Western, Eastern, UofL, Ky. Wesleyan, Georgetown), and, I think, every regional Ohio Valley Conference team (Morehead, EKU, Tennessee Tech, Austin Peay, etc.) except Murray State University. When will the Wildcats and Racers lock horns on the hardwood?
Mitch Barnhart : That's a great point. We played Murray State a few years back in football and have tried to be a good friend to all of the programs in the region and will certainly look at that in the future.
Josh C : I would like to know your feelings on the state of UK basketball with the continous trend of off the court problems and the recruitment of players that seem to want to get out rather then get through the program? What changes will you need to see this season before you step in and begin to make some changes yourself?
Mitch Barnhart : There have been numerous questions submitted regarding the basketball program. At most programs, 22 wins is a wonderful season. Our standards at Kentucky are much different than that. And no one wants to guard the wonderful tradition of Wildcat basketball more than Tubby Smith. There is much written, talked and rumored about this basketball program. It has always been that way and will continue to be that way. Tubby Smith knows what it takes to win championships at Kentucky and we are all fully committed, from adminstration to coaches, to ensuring that happens.
Kelly : Hello Mitch, What's the status on the practice facility? I would love to take a tour. Thanks
Mitch Barnhart : Right now, the construction on the practice facility and offices is generally on schedule. It looks like we will still have a target date for our basketball programs of late December/early January. As much as we would enjoy showcasing the facility, right now it is important that we allow the construction staff to be uninterrupted to stay on schedule. We will find a way to allow our loyal Kentucky fans the opportunity to see the facility first hand as we get it completed. In the meantime, you can visit ukathletics.com for updated construction photos of this first-class facility. http://www.ukathletics.com//index.php?s=&url_channel_id=0&url_article_id=15114&change_well_id=2
Shane Manns : Hey mitch wanted to know if UK has the talent and skill to be compeditive aginst teams like Louisville, UF, and georgia.
Mitch Barnhart : For the first time over the last four years, we will be close to the NCAA allotment of 85 scholarships for football. That will give us some depth in positions which have been seriously lacking over the last three years. We will still be youthful but we are certainly gaining ground in terms of skill, size and speed. We are in the most difficult league and division in college football but I think our athletes truly enjoy that high level of competition.
micheal : How many games will Coach Rich Brooks have to win in order to come back next year?
Mitch Barnhart : We are looking for growth and progress in our program. Wins is always a critical element and Coach Brooks has acknowledged the importance in improving in this area as well. I'm not going to give numbers. I don't think that's fair. But I think we'll know as we watch our program by the way our players respond and compete.
ukathletics.com : Thanks to Mitch Barnhart for joining us today and to all the fans for the great questions.
Mitch Barnhart : Thanks so much for your support of University of Kentucky athletics. We have 500 student-athletes that depend on your support through tickets, contributions and knowing that we have the best fans of anyone America. See you this fall. Go Cats!