Among four nominees for award to be given on May 20
Men's basketball SEC Tournament title gives UK 15 championships since Nov. 2008
Partnership with Maker's Mark, Keeneland to help fund academic center
UK Director of Athletics is Winner of Jim Host Sports Business Award
Cats Post Highest Mark Ever in NCAA Rate
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.
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.
Mitch Barnhart talks to the media about UK Athletics' 2012-13 budget.
UK Hoops defeats Mississippi State 76-67 in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament
Mitch Barnhart is in his 13th 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. Under his guidance, UK Athletics has made significant progress in that direction.
The 2013-14 season was the clearest sign of that progress yet, as UK Athletics finished 11th in the Directors' Cup standings, the best finish in school history by a wide margin. Eighteen of UK's 22 varsity teams contributed to the mark and seven finished in the top 10 of their respective sports.
The feat put UK a year ahead of schedule in Barnhart's aim to rank among the NCAA's top-15 athletic programs by 2015 as part of his 15 by 15 by 15 Plan, revealed in November 2008. Along with that, the goals are to win at least 15 conference or national championships and a cumulative 3.0 grade-point average for UK's 500-plus student-athletes on an annual basis, all while continuing to expand the department's service to the community in Lexington and beyond.
Moving toward the goal of 15 championships, Wildcat Athletics boasted four conference championships in 2012 (tying the record set in 2004-05), four Southeastern Conference 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. All told, UK teams have won 13 conference or national championships since the institution of the 15 by 15 by 15 Plan.
The primary academic target has been met in each of the last four semesters, culminating in a record mark of 3.218 for the spring 2014 semester. 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 10-year existence. School records for graduation rates have been broken or tied every year since the NCAA's Graduation Success Rate was introduced in 2005.
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 and the construction of a new $12 million track, the Wildcat Coal Lodge dormitory and a new softball and soccer stadium. UK's football facilities are also in the middle of a dramatic overhaul, with a $120 renovation of Commonwealth Stadium set to be completed for the start of the 2015 season and a $45 million practice facility expected to be ready in 2016.
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 and UK Athletics is funding nearly two-thirds of the $100 million Academic Science Building under construction on campus. All told, UK Athletics has directly and indirectly contributed nearly $200 million to the university's mission since 2002.
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 follow suit. Putting that into action, UK student-athletes combined to serve 4,319 hours in the community during the 2013-14 school year. Also, over the last four years, UK football players have made educational/service trips to Ethiopia, a program that has been expanded to include athletes from multiple sports.
Barnhart is also a leader in shaping the future of college sports on a national level. He was appointed to serve on the NCAA Division I Council, a body charged with conducting the day-to-day business of Division I athletics, after becoming the chair of the NCAA Basketball Issues Committee in 2010.
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.