Athletics News

 Mitch Barnhart
Mitch Barnhart

Director of Athletics


University of Kentucky Student-Athletes Break Graduation Record

Cats Post Highest Mark Ever in NCAA Rate


Schlafer Promoted to Executive Associate Director of Athletics

Named to executive associate director of athletics for external operations


NCAA Academic Progress Rates Released

All 22 Wildcat Teams Surpass NCAA Cut Score; 15 of 22 Teams Exceed National Average Among Public Universities; 18 of 22 Teams Have Better or Same Score Than Last Year


UK Student-Athletes Break, Tie Records for Graduation

Cats Post Highest Mark Ever in Federal Rate, Tie NCAA Record Rate


Peevy Promoted to Deputy Director of Athletics

Schlafer to add external operations to current duties


Barnhart, Emery Press Conference

University of Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart and men's tennis head coach Dennis Emery will have a press conference Tuesday, July 17, 2012 at 11:30 a.m. ET.


Gary Henderson, Mitch Barnhart Press Conference

Kentucky baseball coach Gary Henderson, who directed the Wildcats to a school-record 45-win season in 2012, has signed a new five-year contract, UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart announced Tuesday.


Barnhart after Athletics Committee meeting

Mitch Barnhart talks to the media about UK Athletics' 2012-13 budget.

Mitch Barnhart

The Barnhart File

Birth date: Aug. 27, 1959
Birthplace: Kansas City, Kan.
Family: Wife, Connie, daughters Kirby and Blaire, and son Scott

Ottawa (Kan.) University (B.A. 1981)
Ohio Universiy (M.S. 1982)

Kentucky -- Athletics Director (2002-present)
Oregon State -- Athletics Director (1998-2002)
Tennessee -- Senior Assoc. AD (1986-98)
Southern Methodist -- Asst. Executive Director, Mustang Club (1983-86)
Oregon -- Regional Director, Duck
Athletic Fund (1983)
San Diego State -- Intern, Aztec Foundation (1982-83)

Mitch Barnhart is in his 12th year at the University of Kentucky.

Since his arrival in 2002, one of Barnhart's goals has been to build an athletic program competitive in all sports and there has been significant progress in that direction.

In 2012, Wildcat Athletics totaled four conference championships (tying the record set in 2004-05), four SEC Coaches of the Year and four SEC Players of the Year. The crowning achievement was the men's basketball national championship, the second year in a row that a UK team won a national title.

Combined with other achievements, these feats are fulfilling Barnhart's ambitious course for the future, which was revealed in November 2008 with the 15 by 15 by 15 Plan. The goals are to win at least 15 conference or national championships and rank among the NCAA's top 15 athletic programs by 2015 - all of which would be unprecedented achievements for UK Athletics - while continuing to expand the department's service to the commonwealth of Kentucky. Another goal is a cumulative 3.0 grade-point average for UK's 500-plus student-athletes on an annual basis.

UK's steady improvement in the Directors' Cup standings under Barnhart has been highlighted with two 29th-place finishes in the last three years . It is the school's best showing since Barnhart's arrival, its top finish since 1997-98 and only three slots away from the best mark in school history.

The primary academic target was met during the 2010 spring semester as UK's student-athletes notched a composite 3.04 GPA. but Barnhart wants to continue to see academic success and improvement in the future. In addition, UK has consistently posted strong numbers in the NCAA Academic Progress Rate as every one of UK's 22 varsity sports have avoided penalties in the APR's nine-year existence. School records have been set for graduation rates.

Additional initiatives begun under Barnhart's leadership include fully funding all 22 varsity sports with maximum number of scholarships and coaches; creating the UK Athletics Hall of Fame; initiating the CATSPYs, an awards program that honors the best of UK Athletics; the construction of the Joe Craft Center, a $30 million facility that includes practice and administrative space for a variety of sports; more than $14 million of football facility improvements; and the construction of a new $12 million track the Wildcat Coal Lodge dormitory and a new softball and soccer stadium.

Barnhart's influence reaches far beyond the fields of competition. Despite athletics' urgent financial needs, Barnhart directs a $1.7-million annual contribution to the University's scholarship program, an amount he has increased to $3 million for the 2012-13 school year.

Social responsibility in the Commonwealth of Kentucky also is a priority for Barnhart, who is extremely active in community service and encourages UK athletics staff and student-athletes to do the same. Over the last three years, UK football players have made educational/service trips to Ethiopia, a program that has been expanded to include athletes from multiple sports.

Barnhart has been involved on the national level as well and in 2010 became the chair of the NCAA Basketball Issues Committee.

Barnhart arrived at UK from Oregon State, where he served four successful years (1998-2002) as athletics director. Before OSU, he worked in athletics administration posts at Tennessee (1986-98), Southern Methodist University (1983-86), Oregon (1983) and San Diego State (1982-83).

Barnhart is a native of Kansas City, Kan. He earned his bachelor's degree from Ottawa University (Kansas) in 1981 and a master's in sports administration from Ohio University in 1982.