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
September
 
1
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Labor Day - Academic Holiday
Mon
2
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Internship Info Session
Student/Faculty/Staff Mixer
Tue
3
Employee Educational Assistance Award
LNFS Presents: The Wolf of Wall Street
Last Day to Add a Class
Last Day to Drop a Course with 80% Refund
UK Volunteer Fair
Wed
4
LNFS Presents: Children of Men
LNFS Presents: How To Train Your Dragon 2
Black and Latino Male Initiative
Advance Your Swagger: A Night with Fonzworth Bentely
Thu
5
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Northern Iowa
Kentucky Volleyball vs. USC
LNFS Presents: Spirited Away
LNFS Presents: Mulan
Fri
6
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Kentucky Football vs. Ohio
#maxfest (Ukirklex Campus Ministry)
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Creighton
Lets Swing Dance!
Sat
7
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Morehead State
Sun
8
Diversity Organization's Council
Kosher/Soul? (Jewish, African American & Appalachian culture Fuse)
Mon
9
Working Moms Connection
Job Club - Job Search Strategies for Fall
Rock Star Professionalism Series
Tue
10
Massage on the Go
College: Do the Right Thing- A conversation with Dr. Smith
The Future of Islam
LNFS Presents: Fight Club
Wed
11
9/11 Vigil
UKNABJ presents: Ferguson, Missouri: A look at media, politics and black youth in the U.S.
LNFS Presents: Mr & Mrs Smith
Duo Damiana, Molly Barth and Dieter Hennings
LNFS Presents: 22 Jump Street
Thu
12
LNFS Presents: Searching For Sugarman
LNFS Presents: Sin City
Fri
13
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Men's Soccer vs. ETSU
Sat
14
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Pepperdine
Sun
15
Kentucky Week Farmer's MarCat and Craft Fair
Majestic U.N.I.T.Y.
Mon
16
Justice Delayed not Justice Denied: A Talk with Dough Jones
PRHBTN Gallery Reception and Concert
Men's Soccer vs. Xavier
Chellgren Seminar Series: Buck Ryan
Tue
17
Internship Info Session
Last Day to Drop a Course Without Appearing on Transcript
Caregiver Support Group
LNFS Presents: The Immigrant
Big Blue Commonwealth
Wed
18
LNFS Presents: Watermark
LNFS Presents: X-Men: Days of Future Past
Ryan Gardner Guest Trumpet Recital
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Lipscomb
Thu
19
LNFS Presents: A Band Called Death
LNFS Presents: Prisoners
The Case for Fossil Fuels-PEIK Seminar
Men's Soccer vs. Furman
Fri
20
Rock Climbing @ Red River Gorge
College of Pharmacy Open House
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Xavier
Sat
21
 
Sun
22
Diana Ferrus: 'Writing poetry has allowed me to live': Cultural Resistance in South Africa
Kentucky Law Schools Forum
Mon
23
Pinterest Party
University of Kentucky Chamber Winds
Employer Showcase
Job Club - 10 Questions to Ask Prior to Starting a Business
Men's Soccer vs. Lousville
Tue
24
Employer Showcase
Last Day to Drop a Course with 50% Refund
UK Elder Care Lunch & Learn
BPH Open House
LNFS Presents: Saving Mr. Banks
Wed
25
LNFS Presents: Culture Jam
LNFS Presents: Maleficent
¡Baila!
Thu
26
LNFS Presents: Ponyo
LNFS Presents: The Little Mermaid
Opening Night Bohemiam Festival
White Water Rafting @ Chattooga River
Women's Soccer vs. Mississippi State
Fri
27
White Water Rafting @ Chattooga River
Kentucky Football vs. Vanderbilt
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Green Apple Day of Service: "Pick It Up"
Swing Dancing!
Sat
28
White Water Rafting @ Chattooga River
UK Chorale
Dirty Dancing Trip
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Auburn
Sun
29
 
Mon
30
#TrendingTopics: Immigration Reform
Apollo Duo - Flute and Percussion Guest Recital
Tue
 
 
 
 
Reset Page