Amy Jones-Timoney

Helping Student-Athletes, UK Succeed

Published: May 10, 2010

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 10, 2010) - Every summer, University of Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart and his family face the same routine. They sit down and look at the intense fall schedules for all UK's athletics teams to figure out when they can carve out any moment of free time.

 

“We start looking for openings for our family, and we realize there's not any starting around August 30," said Barnhart. "Every weekend is sort of locked up, but that’s OK because we enjoy it, and it’s been the lifestyle for our family for 28 years. I don’t think our student-athletes would have it any other way.”

 

Neither would Barnhart. Even though this year, the success of football and the men’s and women’s basketball teams garnered the most attention, he spent his time attending contests in every one of the 22 intercollegiate sports offered at UK. 

 

“They see me in the corners of the fields and the courts, and I truly enjoy watching them compete,” Barnhart said.

 

In his eight years at UK, Barnhart has worked to make sure all student-athletes have the fiscal support they need, as well.

 

"When we came in, there were probably only three sports that were fully funded in terms of scholarships and staff,” said Barnhart. “So, we went in and changed the face of all those, completing the whole NCAA limit of staffing and scholarships to make sure that all of our teams have a chance to compete, because in this league, it’s unforgiving. You’re not going to have a chance to win any games if you don’t have the full complement of facilities, scholarships and staff."

 

That determination is something UK President Lee T. Todd, Jr. admires.

 

"Someone needs to write a book on Mitch Barnhart’s leadership style, because from the very moment he stepped on campus, the guiding principal of UK Athletics has been ‘clean and competitive,' " said Todd. "We want our students to compete for championships the right way – by following NCAA rules and regulations.  We also want to make sure they have the chance to compete for championships, no matter what sport they play.  Mitch has worked tirelessly to ensure that each and every student-athlete has the resources they need to excel in the classroom and compete for titles."

 

The attention to detail is paying off in terms of the overall success of the department. In the latest standings for the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup, which rates the top athletics departments in the country, UK currently ranks 16th.  The final standings will be announced July 1. The highest UK has ever finished was 26th in 1996-97.

 

While the news is good, Barnhart has even higher goals in mind for the department.

 

“To parallel Dr. Todd’s goal of being a Top 20 institution for Kentucky, we want to be a top 15 department by 2015 and have won 15 championships,” said Barnhart. “That includes SEC and national championships in one way shape or form in all of our sports programs and to be a top 15 program in all sports. Our other additional goal is to have a collective 3.0 GPA for all of our student athletes."

 

The success of his department impacts the entire university because of what UK Athletics gives to UK's campus.

 

"Mitch has embraced the university’s academic and research missions because he has made UK Athletics a national leader in supporting academic programs on campus," said Todd. "Not only is UK Athletics self-sufficient from a financial standpoint, it provides $1.7 million each year to UK’s academic scholarship fund.”

 

"We wear the name of the University of Kentucky on our jerseys, so we represent the institution in everything we do," said Barnhart. "There's a responsibility that comes with that."

 

It's a responsibility Barnhart is happy to see the department embrace.

 

"At UK, it’s a very ‘all for one, one for all deal,' " said Barnhart. "We’ve got good camaraderie. We’ve got coaches who all want their individual sports to do well, but collectively, they want Kentucky to be great, and they realize that a rising tide raises all boats.”

 

That family type of atmosphere may be why Barnhart's family is so understanding of the extra demands of his ever-present goal to try to attend all sporting events. They know that the UK Athletics family will forever be an important part of their lives, and the lives of the student-athletes they touch. 

 

*****

 

What does Barnhart have to say about UK basketball, the importance of Kentucky football, as well as the lofty goals he has for UK Athletics? Visit http://www.youtube.com/user/universityofkentucky#grid/user/5DE78A56EBD0EEE1 to watch clips from our conversation with Mitch Barnhart.

 

Follow Mitch Barnhart on Twitter at @UKMitchBarnhart

Mitch_with_Soccer_Player.jpgBowl_Celebrate_FB_08_09_35.jpgBarnhart_FB_08_09_05.jpg
File Downloads
December
 
1
Resumes and Cover Letters
Circle of Love Gift Return
Mon
2
UK Guitar Studio
Circle of Love Gift Return
Tue
3
Networking and Job Search
Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: Wayne's World
Study Sounds: Classical Concert
Wed
4
LNFS Presents: Frozen
Ballet Music of Tchaikovsky
Circle of Love Gift Pick-Up
Live Screening of Orion Spacecraft Re-entry
Massage on the Go
Thu
5
LNFS Presents: Winter's Bone
LNFS Presents: Gremlins
Open Studio
Circle of Love Gift Pick-Up
Fri
6
Snow Skiing @ Perfect North Slopes
Sat
7
Free Holiday Shopping Shuttle to Fayette Mall
Sun
8
Undergraduate Research Information Session "How to Find a Faculty Mentor"
Mon
9
Job Club - Identifying Your Skills
Paws for Stress Relief
Tue
10
 
Wed
11
 
Thu
12
Last Day of Classes
Fri
13
 
Sat
14
Free Holiday Shopping Shuttle to Fayette Mall
Finals Treats
Sun
15
Final Exams
Crunch Brunch
Mon
16
Final Exams
Jazzy Holiday Concert
Tue
17
Final Exams
Caregiver Support Group
Wed
18
Final Exams
Thu
19
Final Exams
End of 2014 Fall Semester
Fri
20
 
Sat
21
 
Sun
22
 
Mon
23
 
Tue
24
 
Wed
25
 
Thu
26
 
Fri
27
 
Sat
28
 
Sun
29
 
Mon
30
 
Tue
31
 
Wed
 
 
 
Jan 14
Bicycle Trivia 01/14/2015

Wed, 01/14/2015

Fri, 01/16/2015

Wed, 01/21/2015

Reset Page