UK Athletics Reaches Goals Set Forth in 15 by 15 by 15 Plan

March 17, 2015

LEXINGTON, Ky. - In Nov. 2008, Mitch Barnhart cast a vision for UK Athletics to establish itself among the best athletics departments in the United States when he established the 15 by 15 by 15 Plan.

The plan called for UK Athletics to finish in the top 15 of national all-sports standings, win 15 conference or national championships and achieve a 3.0 department-wide grade-point average by the year 2015, all while expanding the department's service efforts in the community.

After the men's basketball team claimed the SEC Tournament championship on Sunday, UK has reached the goals set forth in the 15 by 15 by 15 Plan.

"It's not the final goal for our men's basketball team, but Sunday's SEC Tournament title was significant for us as a department," Barnhart said. "The championship was our 15th since Nov. 2008, meaning we've reached the goals of our 15 by 15 by 15 Plan. Our goals to win those titles, become a top-15 department and achieve a 3.0 GPA by 2015 seemed lofty and ambitious at the time. However, a sustained and passionate effort by our coaches, staff and student-athletes these seven years made them happen. But just like our men's basketball team, we're not done. It's time to climb the mountain and become the best department in America."

Sunday's conference tournament championship gives the men's basketball team seven conference and national titles since 2008. The rifle team has won six and the men's tennis and women's basketball teams one each to bring UK's tally to 15.

Those championship performances have helped UK's ascent up Directors' Cup standings, culminating in a school-record 11th-place finish in 2013-14, topping the previous record of 25th. Eighteen of UK's 22 teams contributed to the mark, demonstrating the comprehensive growth of UK Athletics since the 15 by 15 by 15 Plan was adopted.

Included in that record Directors' Cup finish were historic performances by a number of teams inspired in part by the challenge to pursue championships as part of the 15 by 15 by 15 Plan. Last year alone, the men's basketball team advanced to the Final Four for the third time in four years, the softball team advanced to the Women's College World Series and the SEC Tournament championship game, and the women's basketball team advanced to the SEC Tournament championship game. This season, the women's track and field team finished a school-record fifth at NCAA Indoor Championships.

The success in competition has been matched by excellence in the classroom and the community. UK student-athletes have reached the goal of a 3.0 cumulative GPA in five consecutive semesters and six of the last seven while remaining committed to service. In 2013-14 alone, UK student-athletes spent a combined 4,319 hours serving in Lexington and beyond. Additionally, more than 30 student-athletes have traveled to Ethiopia as part of department-sponsored service trips over the last four years.